Dissociative fugue (Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders)
Dissociative fugue is a rare condition in which a person suddenly, without planning or warning, travels far from home or work and leaves behind a past life. Patients show signs of amnesiaand have no conscious understanding or knowledge of the reason for the flight. The condition is usually associated with severe stressor trauma. Because persons cannot remember all or part of their past, at some point they become confused about their identity and the situations in which they find themselves. In rare cases, they may take on new identities. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) classifies disassociative fugue as one of four dissociative disorders, along with dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder, and depersonalization disorder.
The key feature of dissociative fugue is "sudden, unexpected travel away from home or one's customary place of daily activities, with inability to recall some or all of one's past," according to the APA. The travels associated with the condition can last for a few hours or as long as several months. Some individuals have traveled thousands of miles from home while in a state of dissociative fugue. (The word fuguestems from the Latin word for...
(The entire section is 1030 words.)
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Fugue (Encyclopedia of Psychology)
An episode during which an individual leaves his usual surroundings unexpectedly and forgets essential details about himself and his life.
Causes and symptoms
Fugues are classified as a dissociative disorder, a syndrome in which an individual experiences a disruption in memory, consciousness, and/or identity. This may last anywhere from less than a day to several months, and is sometimes, but not always, brought on by severe stress or trauma. Dissociative fugue (formerly termed psychogenic fugue) is usually triggered by traumatic and stressful events, such as wartime battle, abuse, rape, accidents, natural disasters, and extreme violence, although fugue states may not occur immediately.
Individuals experiencing a fugue exhibit the following symptoms:
- Sudden and unplanned travel away from home together with an inability to recall past events about one's life.
- Confusion or loss of memory about one's identity (amnesia). In some cases, an individual may assume a new identity to compensate for the loss.
- Extreme distress and impaired functioning in day-today life as a result of the fugue episodes.
If the amnesia of fugue occurs without an episode of unexpected...
(The entire section is 769 words.)