Trying to Clear Up Dissociative Fugue Disorder

Most people do not understand the intricacies that come along with a fugue, or dissociative fugue, diagnosis, including doctors. It is a complicated diagnosis that almost always is made retroactively. It involves amnesia, but there is far more to it than not remembering an event or a time in one's life. Fugue is one of the many mental illnesses that could quite literally happen to anyone, at any time, without any warning or symptoms that can be diagnosed prior to them leaving.

When a person intentionally, but unexpectedly, leaves home in search of who they are because they do not recognize their life, those around them, or their current circumstances, this is often the beginning of fugue. However, since the person just up and left, it's not often diagnosed until after the person's return. The person typically does not have any idea what is going on, but instead, is full of confusion about their own identity. Nothing around them seems familiar, and they do not know why.

Normally, after some time, the person will regain their former personality and identity, but since they are living a life elsewhere with new surroundings, they just as abruptly leave and head towards home. Once there, the dissociative fugue diagnosis often follows. The life that was lived during the fugue state is difficult to remember, and even hard to explain, for most people. Most of those diagnosed with dissociative fugue never recall much, if any, of their life while in that state.


Grohol, J.M. "Dissociative Fugue Symptoms." PsychCentral (Website). (2014).
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