for my boyfriend

dissociative personality disorder

The terminology of abnormal psychology has made it into our everyday language. It is not uncommon for us to diagnose ourselves with or to refer to others as having attention deficit disorder or depression. This language is noticeably absent in Harry's world. Rather a term that is used quite regularly is "mad", which is used to describe individuals who have lost touch with reality.

For example Ginny writes to Tom Riddle: "There was another attack today and I don't know where i was. Tom, what am i going to do? I think i'm going mad..I think i'm the one attacking everyone, Tom!"

The dissociative experiences that Ginny is writing about are similar to the extreme dissociative experiences of individuals in our culture who are diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder or DID.

Most of us have experienced mild dissociative experiences like driving to a friends house and not remembering parts of the drive there.

The development of dissociative personality disorder can be seen as an adaptive response to traumatic experiences. In order to cope with traumatic experiences, some individuals are able to develop personalities that can cope with these experiences.

post-traumatic stress disorder


When Harry is in the presence of dementors, he experiences a more severe reaction than most of his classmates, including flashbacks of his mother's murder at the hands of lord voldemort. Vivid flashbacks of traumatic events are common following traumatic experiences and may be indicative of a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD. Other symptoms of PTSD include hyper-arousal (e.g., being easily startled) and avoidance behaviors (e.g., avoiding people and events that are reminders of the trauma). In the wizarding world, dementors are able to cause emotional suffering in those who come into contact with them. They rob people of hope and happiness. In people who have experienced trauma in their lives, dementors often have a re-traumatizing effect.