Dissociation vs. ADHD

Dissociation and ADHD are two common mental health terms that you hear often, but do you know the difference between them? How can you tell if what you are experiencing is ADHD or if it’s dissociation? Let’s dive deeper into both of these topics!


Dissociation is characterized by a sense of being detached with yourself and your emotions. It’s like a lapse in your brain’s ability to process thoughts and emotions. You could describe it as having an “out of body” experience where you feel detached from what you are going through. Because of this, you may feel a blurred sense of identity. Additionally, dissociation causes an inability to cope well with emotional stress. This may cause memory loss of specific time periods, events, people, and personal information. In addition to themselves, those who experience dissociation often have a distorted perception of people around them.

There are a number of different environmental and biological factors that can cause dissociation. For example, childhood trauma, including physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or severe neglect. Other causes include combat, natural disasters, or motor vehicle accidents. Treatment can be done through a mix of medications and various counseling modalities.


ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) is a common mental disorder which most commonly affects children. Teenagers and adults can also have ADHD. It is considered a chronic and debilitating disorder and is known to impact the individual in many aspects of their life including academic and professional achievements, interpersonal relationships, and daily functioning.

There are three common categories of ADHD symptoms,

Impulsivity, hasty acts occurring without thought.

Hypersensitivity, excess movement not fitting to the setting

Inattention, not being able to keep focus.

  • Acting without thinking
  • Being unable to wait their turn
  • Little or no sense of danger
  • Fidgeting
  • Excess physical movement
  • Interrupting conversations
  • Inability to concentrate on tasks
  • Constantly changing an activity/task

It is unknown what exactly causes ADHD. Studies have indicated that it may be associated with genes, and you are more likely to have it if a family member has it. It can be trated through medication as well as counseling and talk therapy.

If you feel that you or a loved one are exhibiting these symptoms, please reach out. Aspen Counseling Services has therapists who are well trained to help! You can call or text our office at 801-449-0017.  We have offices in both American Fork and St. George, Utah as well as teletherapists available for remote sessions. Learn about our therapists to get started!

If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call the crisis hotline at 988 or dial 911. 

Thank you for reading!


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