Until 1994, Dissociative identity disorder (DID) was known as multiple personality disorder. The name was changed to reflect an eminent understanding of the scenario and it is a condition in which two or more than two personalities with diverse memories and behavior prevail in one individual. These personalities have their own social relationships and own way of living.
These distinct personalities alternately control of the affected person. The individual also undergoes memory loss that is too ample to describe. This is a rare condition and people suffering from this are often victims of extreme abuse. Some people take it as an experience of possession while some believe it to be an experience of depression due to the traumatic case.
But what exactly is dissociative identity disorder? What are the symptoms? What are the causes of this disorder? How can we overcome it? If you are interested to know then in this article, we will explore the answers to all the above queries, so read the complete article.
What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Have you ever experienced mild dissociation, such as daydreaming or getting lost in the moments, while working? Yes, most of us had experienced this state. We can relate this condition to the Dissociative identity disorder but it is a severe form of dissociation.
In fact, it is a mental process in which affected person’s mind lost connection or lack connection in his memories, thoughts, actions, feelings and sense of identity. The individual dissociates himself exactly from a scenario or the experience that is too violent, painful or traumatic to equate with his conscious self.
What Are The Symptoms?
Given below are some of the symptoms to diagnose multiple personality disorder.
- Frequent gaps in memory of personal history including places, people events etc
- Sudden transition from one personality to another and brought on by stress
- Each personality is well ingrained with its own behavioral pattern, memories and social relationships.
- Amnesia or
- The person refers himself or herself as “we”
- The affected person may find unfamiliar objects or samples of strange handwriting.
- Automatic writing in mostly in fugue states
- Auditory hallucinations
- Difficulty in parenting and responding to own children
- Problems trusting others
- Mood swings
- A sense of betrayal
- Problems with sexual adjustment
- Substance abuse
- Self-injurious behaviors such as cutting
Affected people also describe hearing voices of spiritual powers and sometimes these voices accompany connected series of thought that they have no control over. They might also experience a sudden, strong emotion that they can’t control. Also, they feel a sudden change in their body that can be like a small kid, muscular or giant.
They also report about dissociative fugues where they find that they have traveled but that can’t recall this experience. The most dangerous symptom among them is suicidal attacks. Most of the time, they try to suicide or injure themselves.
The causes of dissociative identity disorder are complex but the main reason known to us is the traumatic events or sexual abuse most often in the childhood or developing age which is below 9. It can be caused by the extreme neglect along with emotional hurt even if there is no occurrence of physical or sexual abuse. 90% cases are due to abuse in the past.
Frightening and unpredictable parents also play a role in DID. It is also said that the state of this disorder is coping mechanism that the body of the person itself creates to withstand all the fears that he has been facing through unpleasant events for a long period. Given below are the four factors that lead to this disorder.
- The affected person has an intrinsic potential to segregate hence can be easily hypnotized.
- Harrowing experiences in early childhood can disturb personality development which leads to the greater eligibility for multiple mental or emotional areas.
- Continuously, experiencing these painful events increase the chance to not recovering this emotional or social deprivation spontaneously.
- Social influence s, mental and emotional factors shape the final presentation.
The treatment of dissociative identity disorder is the biggest challenge and we can’t say that the person is cured. The definition of the word cures varies according to the individual to individual. Some people with DID look for ways to manage their distinct personalities in a healthy way.
They are reluctant to reconnect all their distinguished identities because they help the person to withstand the morbid memories. And for others, integrating all personalities into one healthy identity is the objective. Each of these states can be achieved with DID treatment but it can be a painstaking process.
Therapy of various types is used such as:
- Talk Therapy: This encourages communication of conflicts and insight into problems.
- Cognitive Therapy: comprises altering dysfunctional thought patterns.
- Family Therapy: It educates the family about the disorder including diagnosing its presence as well as to cope with the issues that have created in the family because of dissociative identity disorder. Also, its main objective is to educate the family, how to deal with the affected person and how you can help him to overcome this.
- Creative Therapies/ Art Or Music Therapy: Allows the person to explore thoughts, emotions and memories in a safe and creative way.
Sometimes, medication is also used in the treatment although, no medication is specifically indicated for DID. It helps the people who experience certain symptoms like severe depression or anxiety. Clinical hypnosis is also used which involves intense relaxation, concentration and focused attention to achieve an altered state of consciousness.
This allows a person with DID to explore thoughts, emotions and memories that may be hidden from his/her conscious mind. In this condition, the therapist may be able to talk to each distinct personality and check their behaviors and the situation which alter them.
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