Summary: Post-traumatic dissociation occurs more often, and affects more women than men. A new study has found that different dissociative symptoms are uniquely associated with connections in brain networks involved in cognitive and emotional processing.

Source: McLean Hospital

Trauma can help a person cope in the short term, but if the symptoms persist for a long time, they can cause dissociative symptoms such as an out-of-body experience or emotional numbness that can have negative effects.

In a recent new study NeuropsychopharmacologyA team led by investigators at McLean Hospital, a member of the largest psychiatric association at Harvard Medical School and Mass General Brigham, has identified regions in brain networks that interact when people experience different types of dissociative symptoms.

Co-lead author Lauren AM LeBois, PhD, says severe dissociative disorders such as dissociative identity disorder or ‘DID’ remain underappreciated and, at worst, frequently go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Trauma research program.

“The cost of this stigma and misdiagnosis is high—it prevents people from receiving appropriate and effective treatment, causes long-term suffering, and interrupts research on dissociation. Also, because DID disproportionately affects women, gender disparities are a critical issue in this context.”

LeBois and her colleagues’ study included 91 women with no history of childhood trauma, current post-traumatic stress disorder, and varying degrees of dissociative symptoms. Participants completed functional magnetic resonance imaging scans to help researchers gain insight into their brain activity.

This shows the shape of the woman's head
Scientists have discovered that different symptoms of dissociation are uniquely associated with connections in areas of the brain network responsible for cognitive and emotional processes. The image is in the public domain.

“The new methods we’ve used to study brain connectivity are critical to understanding the role these network disturbances play in dissociative disorders,” said Lisa D. Nickerson, Ph.D., director of the Applied Neuroimaging Statistics Laboratory at McLean Hospital. .

Scientists have discovered that different symptoms of dissociation are uniquely associated with connections in areas of the brain network responsible for cognitive and emotional processes. “We found that co-dissociation with post-traumatic stress disorder and central dissociation with DID were each associated with unique brain signatures,” LeBois said.

The team hopes that a better understanding of dissociation will contribute to correcting historical misunderstandings about dissociation and DID, alleviate these experiences, and reduce gender-related health disparities.

“We also hope it will increase awareness of the various symptoms — and ultimately, clinicians will be more likely to assess and consider these symptoms and connect patients to timely and appropriate treatment,” said lead author Melissa Cowman, MD. , Ph.D., Director of the Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Research Program.

The authors of the study stated that the unique brain signatures of various dissociative symptoms may indicate new therapeutic approaches. “In the future, we may be able to target dissociation-related brain activity itself as a therapeutic target,” said Kerry J. Ressler, MD, Ph.D., McLean’s chief scientific officer.

So the news of separation research

Author: Press office
Source: McLean University
Contact: Press Office – McLean University
Image: The image is in the public domain.

Preliminary study: Closed access.
Breaking down the dissociation: The tripartite network model and its subtypes of trauma” by Lauren AM Lebois et al. Neuropsychopharmacology


Breaking down the dissociation: The tripartite network model and its subtypes of trauma

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This shows the brain

Trauma-related pathological dissociation is characterized by disruptions in sense of self, cognition, and emotion. Separation and trauma-related conditions have a disproportionate impact on women.

However, despite its gender-related prevalence and high individual and societal costs, isolation is underappreciated in clinical practice. Moreover, dissociation lacks a unified neurobiological model across its subtypes.

Using the tripartite network model of psychopathology, we sought to predict the differences in dissociative experience by examining the functional connectivity of three core neurocognitive networks related to: (1) the dynamic dissociation of individuals’ isolation/disorientation and semi-dissociative intrusions; and, (2) the diagnostic category of dissociative disorder (DID).

Participants were 91 women with and without: a history of childhood trauma, current post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and varying degrees of dissociation. Participants provided clinical information regarding dissociation, PTSD symptoms, history of childhood abuse, and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging.

We used a novel statistical approach to assess the contributions of both overlapping and unique subtypes of segregation.

Combined with age, childhood maltreatment, and PTSD severity, we found that dissociation was associated with central executive (CEN), default (DN), and salience networks (SN) and the interaction of CEN and SN with other areas.

Moreover, we identified specific correlational markers associated with individual disengagement/disclosure in CEN and DN, semi-differentiated aggression in CEN, and DID in CEN.

This suggests that dissociative subtypes have robust functional connectivity signatures that may serve as targets for PTSD/DID treatment engagement. Our findings emphasize the importance of disparity assessment in clinical care, particularly to reduce gender-related health disparities.

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