Amnesia due to Trauma

Kate Cliff

Period 2


Filling in the gaps

Disassociative amnesia, or amnesia due to trauma, causes "gaps" in the mind where certain memories used to be. These are blocked because of the overwhelming stress and trauma associated with the memories. As a result of the blocking, the memories are buried deep within the mind and are usually recalled by a trigger in the person's surroundings. I was first introduced to this topic through the concept being mentioned in a few of my favorite book series. I was intrigued because the memories are still able to be accessed, but usually come without the control of the individual.


  • Dissociative amnesia occurs in about 2% - 7% of the population with higher prevalence in those who have history of abuse, victims of torture, and survivors of calamities and natural disasters.
  • Dissociative amnesia is more common in women than in men.
  • About 7% of the total population in the U.S will experience dissociative disorder in their lifetime.
  • 1 out of 3 women who have experienced abuse did not report it and 68% of them reportedly experienced other sexual assaults during their childhood.
  • About 16% of individuals who recalled the abuse admit that there was a time where they could no longer remember about the abuse.
  • For people sexually abused in childhood, about 10% have periods of complete amnesia about their abuse followed by a delayed recall.
  • Partial memory loss is experienced by individuals who were sexual abuse victims (22%), witnessed suicide or murder of a loved one (38%) or were victims of physical abuse (22%). Complete memory loss is often seen in 20% of children who were sexually abused 13% in domestic violence, 13% in rape cases and 16% for those who witnessed combat injury.