A Comprehension of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative identity disorder or also known as multiple personality disorder is classified as a DSM-5. It’s a disorder where two or more identities are present in a person. Doctors don’t really know the actual cause of DID but they do know it is correlated to childhood abuse. Today the conditions are caused by physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during childhood. Some symptoms are having two or more distinctive identities within them, changes in behavior, sense of self, etc., and frequent memory loss. Dissociative identity disorder comes with many high risk factors such as self-harm, suicide, sleeping disorders, and many many more.
A Compression of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Throughout history we saw cave painting of painting of shamans that suggest that dissociative identity disorder goes back way further than we initially thought it did. In the cave paintings we saw what look like demonic possessions or exorcisms that we now know is DID. The first written account of multiple personalities was in 1791 and was about a 20-year-old German lady who spoke perfect French, behaved like a French aristocrat, but also spoke German with a French accent. When this lady was a French woman she remembered everything she said and did but when she was her normal German women she denied everything and had no knowledge of her being or acting like a French woman. DID focused studies was between 1880 and 1920, 67 percent of all reported cases happened during that time period.
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder also known as multiple personality disorder is a condition where two or more distinct identities or personality states are presented and take control of an individual. Some people would describe this condition as an experience of possession, the person can also experience extensive memory loss. DID had the name multiple personality disorder until 1994, the name changed to dissociative identity disorder to better reflect the condition. Multiple personality disorder is incorrect because this condition doesn’t quite literally mean that the person has separate identities within themselves but has more fragmentation or splintering. In the beginning this condition was rarely reported, but now that DID is more common it has become quite controversial.
To be diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder you must meet certain criteria. The person has to experience two or more distinctive identities or personality states each with their own enduring pattern of perceiving and thinking about the environment and self, different cultures describe this as possession. The disruption of the identity has to involve a change in sense of self, sense of agency, changes in behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, and motor function. Finally, the person has to have frequent gaps in memories of personal history including people, places, and events from both distant and recent pasts. (American Psychiatric Association 2018) Different identities can emerge with different circumstance, transitions from one identity to another are triggered by psychosocial stress. It’s very common for people with DID to hide their symptoms even with lapses on memory are obvious to people around them. It is extremely crucial and important to help improve quality of life for people with DID because more than 70 percent of people that suffer from this condition have attempted suicide or have self-injurious behavior.
Why people develop DID is still a mystery because it’s not really understood, but they have reported having experienced severe physical and sexual abuse during childhood. Approximately 90 percent of DID patients in the United States, Canada, and Europe reported having experienced childhood abuse. DID can appear at any age in life, because they also have post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms such as nightmares, flashbacks, and startle responses. Studies show that its more common among close biological relatives to have this disorder rather than the general population. DID has become controversial because people believe DID patients have more suggestible symptoms and are least iatrogenic, which is from their therapists’ probing.
Primarily the treatment for dissociative identity disorder is long term psychotherapy with goals of uniting the different personalities as one, or cognitive and creative therapies. There are no real medications specifically for DID, but antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or tranquillizers can be prescribed to help control the symptoms. Even though this condition seems untreatable, with the proper therapy and medications DID patients can experience improvements in their ability to function properly in their personal and occupational lives. (National Institute of Mental Health 2018)
People that suffer from DID have and increasing higher risk of complications associated with their disorder because they usually have had long term physical, sexual, or emotional abuse and have experienced other traumatic events like war, natural disasters, kidnapping, torture, or early life medical procedures. Some of these risk include self-harm or mutilation, suicidal thought and behaviors, sexual dysfunction, alcoholism and drug use disorders, depression and anxiety disorders, PTSD, personality disorders, sleep disorders such as nightmares, insomnia, and sleepwalking, eating disorders, physical symptoms such as lightheadedness or seizures, and major difficulties in personal relationships in life. (Mayo Clinic 2018)
Dissociative identity disorder is a challenging mental disorder to treat and to diagnose, and also has many controversies. However, each case is different and with the right therapist and medication a patient with DID can still have a good occupation and personal life.
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Dissociative disorders. (2017, November 17). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dissociative-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20355215What Are Dissociative Disorders? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/dissociative-disorders/what-are-dissociative-disordersT. (2015, May 14). The Amazing History of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Retrieved from https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/dissociative-identity-disorder/the-amazing-history-of-dissociative-identity-disorder-did