Understanding dissociative identity disorder

Understanding dissociative identity disorder

Also known as multiple personality disorder or split personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder (DID) enfolds a number of idiosyncratic personalities that exist within an individual. It is a convoluted, protracted and disturbing psychopathology that is indicated by disturbances in memory and identity.

A person with this disorder may project an array of splits. Each of the splits differs from the other by means of behavior, thinking, voice and much more. Compared to other mental disorders, dissociative identity disorder is differentiated by persisting coexistence of relatively deviating or separate forms of a single identity by amnesia and periodic episodes of memory loss. Such episodes of fragmented characters emerge as a corollary of shattering childhood experiences.

Mostly, individuals struggling with this disorder exhibit the presence of two or more alternate personalities that consistently control the person. According to Bethany Brand, a professor of psychology at Towson University and an expert in treating and researching dissociative disorders, the roots of DID can be traced back to childhood trauma including abuse or neglect.

However, there are several myths surrounding this mental health condition, some of which are listed below:

  • DID is fictional: DID is real. Although it is claimed to be a uniquely rare disorder, it was found to affect nearly six percent of the population in an American outpatient setting. However, current studies position DID between 0.1 percent to 2 percent, while some others estimate its prevalence to be as high as three to five percent. Studies also highlight that the prevalence of DID is about nine times more common in females than males.
  • DID is scary. It is exactly what movies depict: Melodrama and sensationalism are the biggest weapons of a movie as exaggeration allures a spectator. The bizarre and extreme depictions of DID can be found in numerous Hollywood blockbusters like Raising Cain, Dressed to Kill, Fight Club, Me, Myself & Irene, etc. However, there’s much more to DID than the exaggerated portrayal. People struggling with this disorder are likely to endure with chronic major depressive disorder, bulimia nervosa, obsessive compulsive disorder or substance abuse. Often, due to misinterpretation of the condition, the affected people are stigmatized and refrain themselves from seeking help.
  • DID is same as schizophrenia: DID and schizophrenia are often confused because of their overlapping symptoms. While schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that results in delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized thoughts, speech and movements, and social withdrawal, DID does not include symptoms associated with psychosis such as delusions or hallucinations, although some individuals may exhibit signs of hearing voices at times. DID and schizophrenia are nonetheless two different illnesses.
  • DID-affected people have distinct personalities: People with DID have different states, not personalities, and they are likely to act differently in all those states. While people with panic disorder may remember the transformation from one emotional state to an extremely panicked one, individuals with DID can barely recall their states due to amnesia.

Path to recovery

Mental disorders affect millions of people every year deteriorating not just their physical and mental health but also the overall quality of life. But with timely treatment and support from loved ones and informed therapists, one can successfully walk the path of recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental health problem, contact the California Mental

Health Helpline for guidance on reputed mental health centers in California that offer comprehensive treatment programs. Call us at our 24/7 helpline 855-559-3923 or chat online with one of the specialists to get advice on the best mental health rehabilitation centers in California.

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