Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention |
What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative Identify Disorder (DID) is a mental disorder, in which a person has two or more identities or personalities within a body. These personalities are also called alters and self-states. These two or more personalities can have different body language, different reactions, thinking process and emotions etc. DID cause gaps, confusion, lack of memories between thoughts, actions, surroundings etc. in the memory of the affected people. It makes them clueless about how they reached a place? Why they don’t remember anything? etc. Including various other problems.
People with dissociative identity disorder escape reality in ways that are involuntary, unhealthy and cause problems in everyday life and functioning.
The primary personality (actual or real personality of a person) may don’t know about the existence of other personality, but it is more passive than the others. Whereas, the other personality or personalities may respond you, even of you call them with the name of the primary or host personality.
Although, the new personality has different behaviour, approach, thinking, etc. In comparison to the host personality. In short, two or more totally different types of personality/personalities are present within the same body in case of DID.
DID is also known as multiple personality disorder in the past, now it refers to split personality disorder.
These split personalities or alters, often have their own distinct:
- Languages known
- Vocabulary etc.
And the quite weird thing is two different personalities can have different genders. For example, if tye host or primary personality is a male, still the other personality can be of female.
These personalities shift from one to the other, when the sufferer faces a certain trigger.
You must know that DID is a collective form of three mental disorders, including split personality disorder. Here, we will discuss about split personality disorder only in the nameof DID.
Fact: DID diagnosed nine times more in females than males.
Causes of DID:
The most prominent cause of DID is a trauma, physical or mental abuse or harassment one faced in his/her childhood. Sometimes, it develops to a natural disaster and other traumatic events like combat. Some people who a
had a traumatic, pressurised, or unpredictable environment of their home in childhood, can also suffer DID later in their life.
People of all ages can develop DID. But it is way more easier for children to develop DID than adults. Because children are still learning and realising their identity in childhood, so it’s easier for them to forget about the host personality and appear in a new one.
To detach themselves from a trauma or bad memories, ones personality splits into two or produce multiple personalities, which refers as DID. In Europe, the U. S. And Canada, 90% people who have DID had suffered some trauma in their childhood.
Fact: There can live upto 100 or may be more personalities in an individual.
Symptoms of DID:
- A blurred sense of identity
- Loss of memories certain time period, events, people and knowledge about yourself
- Finding yourself engaged in such tasks or behaviour which is unusual for the host personality
- A sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions.
- Inability to handle or cope well with personal, emotional and professional issues.
- Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behaviour
- A sense of detachment from yourself
- Going into a trace-like state
- Sleep disturbances
- Thoughts of self-harm etc.
Fact: According to a study, more than 70% people suffering from DID have attempted suicide.
- Sufferers of prolonged physical, sexual, mental or emotional abuse
- Witnessed some traumatic events such as kidnapping, natural disaster etc.
- Emotional neglect
- Psychological abuse
- Growing up in an unsafe environment
- Mental health disorders
- Borderline personality disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorders
- Eating disorders
- Substance use disorder
- Alcoholism and drug use
- Sexual dysfunction
- Physical symptoms such as light headedness, seizures etc.
- Major difficulties in personal and professional relationships etc.
To diagnose DID is not an easy task, because it has a high chances of misdiagnosis. You may need to consult a doctor, psychologist or psychiatrists together or two of them to get a proper diagnosis.
Your doctor first may ask your symptoms and other health conditions. Your health care providers may need to see all the different personalities you have and they affects you , before providing you any kind of treatment.
It is found that generally those people who are having DID, also have some other mental disorder. In this case, your doctors first observe the symptoms of DID and other mental disorders, then they prepare a diagnosis for the mental disorder you have. After that, according to your need, your treatment plan will prepared.
Since, there is no specific test to diagnose DID. But structures clinical interview can help in diagnosis of DID.
There is no specific treatment to treat DID. Doctors and psychiatrist often prescribe treatment on the case-to-case basis. In most of the cases, treatment includes psychotherapy with necessary drugs or medications to treat it’s symptoms. Psychotherapy includes —
- Talk therapy
- Behavioural cognitive therapy
- Art therapy
- Movement therapy
- Relaxation techniques etc.
Among these, talk therapy and behavioural cognitive therapy is adopted and works the most. Other therapies used according to the need of the case.
In DID, psychotherapy aims to help the integrate a person’s identity and learn to help with post traumatic experiences.
Treatment of DID also includes individual, group or family therapy. These therapies mainly focuses on —
- Identifying and working through past trauma
- Managing sudden behavioural changes
- Merging separate identity into a single identity.
Along with psychotherapy, your doctors may use hypnosis to recover the suppressed memories of yours.
It may not possible to remove the other personalities from a person. But, with the help of the treatment and therapies, your all the personalities can merge into the one i.e. host personality. You can control the incoming of other personalities after the treatment gets complete. But without treatment, it can not be taken under control.
There is no way to prevent DID. All you can do is identify the symptoms and go for a diagnosis as soon as you come to know about your DID condition.
Treatment can also help you to identify the trigger that cause DID episodes in you. You must avoid any contact with that trigger again. And if your near and dear ones are affected with DID, just be supportive of them.
Fact: DID is a rare disorder in India, with less than 1 million cases per year.