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“Last September, Jeff Ingram, 40, drove from his home, Olympia, Washington, to visit a terminally ill friend in Alberta. Four days later, he woke up on a street in Denver…” (William Lee Adams). What happened to Jeff Ingram was he forgot his identity for four days and wandered the streets for an answer, and then he woke up and remembered his past. This is called Dissociative Fugue, a mental sub disorder of Dissociative Amnesia. Dissociative Fugue symptoms are easy to find if you know what it is, and treatment is important to know if you know someone with Dissociative Fugue and want to help.
Dissociative Fugue is a confusing disorder for both the victim and their family alike, so learning about the disorder is key so he or she can understand the symptoms and treatment used for it. Dissociative Fugue is a rare disorder with phases of amnesia, this includes victims forgetting who they are and loved ones. They often go into a amnesiac state many times throughout their life. They forgot the time they were in a amnesiac state once they remember their past life, making it hard to study. Those in a Fugue state are still neurologically intact. Instead of brain injury, it is triggered by stress, which can sometimes relate to other disorders like depression or anxiety. While in the Fugue state, they unconsciously run away from these stressful situations, which may include disorders, work, school, an ill friend, relationships, or from war. This trance-like state lasts from hours to years, sometimes they forget some parts of their past even after they regain their memories.
During this time, people with Dissociative Fugue travel to find answers, traveling an average of 750 miles. Understanding Dissociative Fugue is key to identifying symptoms of the disorder, since it is so rare and spontaneous. Dissociative Fugue is hard to identify compared to some other disorders, but some major pointers can help identify the disorder. One symptom is that victims can not recall important memories before the Fugue state, or identify themselves. They will not be able to identify loved or significant beings in their lives. Another symptom is they can not recall how they got where they were, so a question like, “how did you get to Denver” might help to identify if someone has it. This often leads them to commit vehicle theft and credit card theft. People often fake having Dissociative Fugue, going to the hospital pretending they do not know who they are or pretending they just went through a phase. Doctors can tell the fakes from the real victims by asking questions, and the fakes will often exaggerate their struggles and other information while people who have the disorder will be confused and unconfident. Identifying Dissociative Fugue is not hard once you know the right questions to ask. There is no standard treatment for Dissociative Fugue, but there is a process of recovery the few convicted of this disorder. One step of recovery is removing the person from the stressful situations in their lives. This may include one-on-one therapy so they can work through the problems so it does not happen again. Often, the situations that causes them to be so stressed out is caused by their own thoughts and behaviour. This is why Cognitive Behavioural therapy can help to change the behaviour and thoughts of the victim that is causing their pain. One person who had the disorder tattooed his information onto his arm because of his frequent episodes. He wore GPS tracking shoes so police can find him quickly if he were to go through another phase.
There is no medication for Dissociative Fugue, but other mental co-occurring disorders like depression might require medication. Stressful environments and other difficulties is what causes the disorder. This can include untreated depression and anxiety. Doctors want to know more about the mental disorder so they can learn to better understand and treat Dissociative Fugue. Moreover, Dissociative Fugues symptoms are easy to identify when the right questions are asked, and treatment only prevents it from happening again, doctors want to improve on that. It is highly important if anyone identifies someone with this disorder directs this person towards a hospital. Not knowing who and where a person is is terrible and should not happen to anybody. This is why we help those in these amnesiac stages. People like Jeff Ingram happen, and helping those people can be life changing for those who are lost.
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