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Dissociative Identity Disorder: One Body, Multiple Personalities

A young man with personality disorder, the shadows represents the other personalities / Photo by 123rf.com

 

Introduction

Contrary to popular belief, an individual suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, does not make one a violent person as often portrayed by the Hollywood movies. The stigma that surrounds having these multiple personalities have made people misinterpret them instead of trying to understand them.

Instead of making them feel that shame, guilt, and isolation that has been caused by their portrayal, people should instead try to increase their knowledge about the disorder and why some individuals later developed it. As cited by healthline, the American Psychiatric Association, 90% of people who are diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder have either been neglected or abused since childhood.

According to Medical News Today, it occurs when a person has many distinct identities. An individual affected by this has a central or main personality, which can suddenly transform into a different identity with its very own traits such having taking on another gender, appearance, voice, mannerisms, race and age. These multiple identities are called “alters”.

WebMD says that these identities that a person suffering from DID may take on are not limited to human personalities. They may also switch to an animal personality. “Switching” is what happens when another personality shows itself and takes charge of the person’s thoughts and actions. The switching can transpire within different time periods. It can go from seconds to minutes to days. Sometimes, the other identities know of each other’s existence, but other times they do not.

It is the aim of this analysis to show the facts related to Dissociated Personality Disorder.

 

 

Causes

An individual may develop Dissociative Identity Disorder as a way to deal with the abuse they have been subjected to which may have been physical, sexual or mental. While experiencing the abuse, they may have separated themselves from reality letting another personality experience it for them so that it would not be too painful for them. In turn, they will not or barely remember the traumatic event which took place.

 

Symptoms

As stated by WebMD, these are the indications that a person has Dissociative Identity Disorder:

- Showing two or more personalities

- Being unable to recall

- Psychotic-like syndromes

- Sleep disorders

- Eating disorders

- Mood swings

- Depression

- Anxiety, panic attacks and phobias

- Alcohol and drug abuse

- Compulsions and rituals

 

In addition, Medical News Today has separate symptoms for children and adults.

In adults, these are the signs that a person has DID:

- Sense of losing time

- Confusion

- Memory gaps

- Out of character behavior

- Having alters

 

On the other hand, a child may have this condition if they exhibit these symptoms:

- Being unresponsive

- Having distressing dreams or memories

- Being triggered by trauma reminders

- Having physical reactions to traumatic memories such as seizures

- Displaying sudden changes in food and activity preferences

 

Other symptoms a person suffering from this are, according to healthline.com:

- Blurred Identity

The sensation an individual gets when they feel like two or more people are conversing or living inside their head, like they are possessed.

- Dissociative amnesia

This kind of amnesia goes beyond forgetfulness.
 

- Dissociative fugue

This is a duration of amnesia wherein a person does not recall a specific part of their personal information.

 

 

Other Related Conditions

In connection to this, some of the symptoms may have been a reult of these other hidden disorders:

- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

- Depersonalization

-  Acute Stress Disorder

 

Treatment

To continue, the treatment of the Dissociative Identity Disorder does not entail that they are attempting to reduce the patient’s personality into a single one but rather, they concentrate on how to make these personalities cooperate with each other. It also aims to help them point out what may cause the switching of the personalities so that they can be ready for when another alter suddenly takes over.

 

Therapy

Here are some of the therapies recommended by WebMD:

- Psychotherapy otherwise known as talk therapy

In psychotherapy, the patient is informed about their medical condition, helping them be aware and more tolerant of their emotions, guiding them on how to control  their impulses, helping them not dissociate further and how to deal with their relationships, their stressors and their daily functioning.

 

- Hypnosis

When a patient suffering from did undergoes this, their alters usually respond favorably to the therapist.

Hypnosis is said to be a very effective kind of treatment for patients with this disorder.

 

Medication

For further treatment, Healthline suggests that a patient with this condition may take the following medication:

- Antidepressants

- Antipsychotic drugs

- Anti-anxiety medication

 

 

In essence, individuals should be aware that these multiple personalities of a person affected by Dissociative Identity Disorder exist to counteract all the damage that their trauma has caused them. They formed them as a response to pain, in order  to be able to survive having to go through that abuse repeatedly.

These people need to be able to consult a therapist as soon as they can so they can work on managing their different alters, be able to deal with their fears and triggers and be unafraid of their sudden switching of personalities.

 

Antidepressant pills / Photo by 123rf.com

 

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