Dissociative Fugue

Family recognizes man with amnesia on TV

DENVER – A man with amnesia who had been searching for his identity for more than a month was finally recognized by family and friends in Washington state when he appeared on a television news report asking for help. He left his home Sept. 6 to visit his mother in Slave Lake, Alberta, but never made a scheduled stop that evening at his fiancee’s mother’s house in Bellingham, Wash., according to the Thurston County, Wash., sheriff’s office.

The man said he found himself in Denver on Sept. 10 and walked around for six hours asking people for help. He ended up at a hospital where police spokeswoman Virginia Quinones said he was diagnosed with dissociative fugue, a type of amnesia.

During the weekend, he appeared on several news shows pleading: “If anybody recognizes me, knows who I am, please let somebody know.” Shortly thereafter, his fiancйe of Olympia, a state transportation and policy analyst, told KCNC-TV in Denver that his family and friends were relieved to learn he was alive and in good condition.

People with dissociative fugue typically appear fine but have temporarily lost their sense of identity, are confused and impulsively wander away from home, according to a description from The Cleveland Clinic. It is rare and typically linked to severe stress.

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