Unlike portrayed in the movies on a slightly funnier side, Dissociative Identity Disorder is a very serious problem causing personality disorder. Previously known as multiple personality disorder or MPD, Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental disorder wherein a person feels the presence of at least two enduring identities or dissociated personality states in his behavior. These multiple dissociated personality states alternately reflect in a person’s behavior. Sometimes these alterations come with specific memory impairment or memory breakdown. This memory impairment is not similar to ordinary forgetfulness and rather is a very serious one.
The reason that makes this a very serious mental disorder is that its diagnosis is quite difficult as it can be often confused with other mental disorders or often come as a combination of few other personality disorders. The severity can range from mild to more serious forms. However, be it any form, it is detrimental to one’s individual and professional life.
Dissociative Identity Disorder Causes
There are several reasons that can lead to someone building DID, however, the most known cause is Childhood trauma. Specifically, if a person is exposed to a trauma before the age of five has been regarded as the chief cause of this disorder. This trauma can be any type of verbal, physical, severe neglect or sexual. Sometimes even after experiencing situations of extreme fear, stress and pain can also lead to it like natural disasters and accident. Though most of the time the disorder episodes can come up as a result of certain factual and symbolic turbulence. Sometimes even accidents, illness or stress can also result in a person changing his personality.
This dissociation that a person undergoes in his personality often exists as a way to defend him against that serious traumatic experience or emotional and physical pain. So in order to protect or safeguard him, a person uses the other personality to disconnect from that situation. So the whole thing happens to get rid of the memories of that trauma.
Symptoms of DID
To know if a person has DID, he or she has to be observed very carefully. A person with this personality disorder has vivid alterations in his behavior, patterns of speech and appearance. Often patients with DID are ignorant of their actions when they change their personality. They are unaware of the behavioral pattern they exhibit or words they speak or the people they meet or anything during that duration of time. All this can cause serious complications in one’s personal and social life. Therefore, it is very important to diagnose the disorder timely. Some of its main symptoms are:
- Possessing two or more separate personality traits.
- Drastic changes in one’s behavior, emotions, thoughts, perceptions, and memories.
- Events of hallucinations
- Feeling disconnected from one’s own body and thought patterns
- Memory gaps
Treatment of DID
The main task of this treatment is to try and fix all the personalities of the person and integrating them into one.
The main treatment includes Psychotherapy like:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT): This therapy aims at coping skills to put away negative urges and to have control over one’s emotions. This therapy includes self-soothing, regulated breathing, and meditation.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This therapy helps in the patient to know his destructive thoughts and in inculcating coping strategies.
Other than these two therapies there are several other therapies that are being used in combination with each other for better and faster results. The zest of all the therapies is to majorly tackle negative thoughts and indulging in coping methods. There is no medication that is used to cure this disorder. However, antidepressant medicines can be prescribed by the doctor in some cases.
Though the disorder can be cured after a lot of observations, persistence, and practice, it is always important to prevent it. People and children who have experienced serious emotional, physical and sexual abuse are at high risk and therefore should be rescued and given immediate help before they develop the symptoms or get cured before the symptoms become frequent.