Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Dissociative identity disorder (DID) facts
- What is dissociative identity disorder?
- What are causes and risk factors of dissociative identity disorder?
- What are the signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder?
- How is dissociative identity disorder diagnosed?
- What are the treatment methods for dissociative identity disorder?
- What is the prognosis for dissociative identity disorder?
- What are complications of dissociative identity disorder?
- How can dissociative identity disorder be prevented?
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) facts
- Dissociative identity disorder (DID), formerly called multiple personality disorder, is an illness that is characterized by the presence of at least two clear personality states, called alters, which may have different reactions, emotions, and body functioning.
- How often DID occurs remains difficult to know due to disagreement among professionals about the existence of the diagnosis itself, its symptoms, and how to best assess the illness.
- DID is diagnosed nine times more often in females than in males.
- A history of severe abuse is thought to be associated with DID.
- DID has been portrayed in the media in productions like The Three Faces of Eveand Sybil.
- Signs and symptoms of DID include time and memory lapses, blackouts, being often accused of lying, finding apparently strange items among one's possessions, having apparent strangers recognize them as someone else, feeling unreal, and feeling like more than one person.
- As there is no specific diagnostic test for DID, mental health professionals perform a mental health interview, ruling out other mental disorders, and referring the client for medical evaluation to rule out a physical cause for symptoms.
- Individuals with DID often also suffer from other mental illnesses, including posttraumatic stress disorder, borderline and other personality disorders, and conversion disorder.
- People who may benefit either emotionally or legally from having DID sometimes pretend to have it, as with those who molest children, have antisocial personality disorder, or in cases of Munchausen's syndrome.
- Some researchers are of the opinion that sex offenders who truly suffer from DID are best identified using a structured interview.
- Psychotherapy is the mainstay of treatment of DID and usually involves helping individuals with DID improve their relationship with others, preventing crises, and to experience feelings they are not comfortable with having.
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a treatment method that integrates traumatic memories with the patient's own resources, is being increasingly used in the treatment of people with dissociative identity disorder.
- Hypnosis is sometimes used to help people with DID learn more about their personality states in the hope of their gaining better control of those states.
- Although medications can be helpful in managing emotional symptoms that sometimes occur with DID, caution is exercised when it is prescribed in order to avoid making the individual feel retraumatized by feeling controlled.
- People with DID may have trouble keeping a job and maintaining relationships and are at risk for engaging in drug and alcohol abuse as well as hurting themselves and others.
What is dissociative identity disorder?
What are causes and risk factors of dissociative identity disorder?
What are the signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder?
- lapses in memory (dissociation), particularly of significant life events, like birthdays, weddings, or birth of a child;
- experiencing blackouts in time, resulting in finding oneself in places but not recalling how one traveled there;
- being frequently accused of lying when they do not believe they are lying (for example, being told of things they did but do not recall, unrelated to the influence of any drug or medical condition);
- finding items in one's possession but not recalling how those things were acquired;
- encountering people with whom one is unfamiliar but who seem to know them sometimes as someone else;
- being called names that are completely unlike their own name or nickname;
- finding items they have clearly written but are in handwriting other than their own;
- hearing voices inside their head that are not their own;
- not recognizing themselves in the mirror;
- feeling unreal (derealization);
- feeling like they are watching themselves move through life rather than living their own life;
- feeling like more than one person.
How is dissociative identity disorder diagnosed?
- The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively persistent pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about him or herself and the world)
- At least two of the identities or personality states repeatedly take control of the person's behavior.
- Inability to recall important personal information that is too severe to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness
- The illness is not the result of the direct physiological effects of a substance (for example, blackouts or other abnormal behavior during alcohol or other drug intoxication) or a general medical condition (for example, seizures). In children, the symptoms are not caused by imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.