The dissociative identity disorder (often referred to as the multiple personality disorder among non-medical circles) is considered to be an extremely complex psychological condition. It is most likely caused by multiple factors, including severe traumas during early childhood, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuses.
What Is the Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Most people experience slight moments of light dissociation. Daydreaming is one of them. The same happens when you feel like getting lost while working on a project. However, the dissociation identity disorder is a more severe form of dissociation. It is a mental process that leads to a lack of connection in thoughts, memories, feelings, actions and even the sense of personal identity.
It is still unknown what causes it, yet most specialists agree that it comes from a combination of factors, including severe abuses. As a direct consequence, the dissociative aspect is considered to be a mechanism of adaptation. Simply put, the victim literally dissociates from a situation or experience that is too traumatic, painful or violent, only to prevent assimilating it with the conscious mind.
Is the Dissociative Identity Disorder Real?
Most people cannot understand the dissociative identity disorder and they ask themselves – is it real? After all, it is quite complicated to understand developing more personalities – even for highly trained experts. The diagnosis itself is quite controversial among mental health professionals. Some experts believe it is a phenomenon deriving from other psychiatric problems, such as the borderline disorder. Other scientists believe it represents the results of a deep difficulty in handling tension caused by inter-human relationships.
What Are the Symptoms of the Dissociative Identity Disorder?
The dissociative identity disorder is defined by the presence of two or more distinct personalities. They develop a continuous power over the victim’s behavior. In this case, the victim has problems in remembering key personal information. It cannot be described as memory loss though. Instead, the victim goes through memory variations that seem distinct and fluctuate with the double personality.
Multiple personalities have their own age, gender and even race. Each of them has its own gestures, as well as different accents. The commute is the process defining the switch from one personality to another. It can take a few seconds and up to a few days. However, when under hypnosis, these multiple personalities are quite receptive to the therapist’s demands.
Some of the most common symptoms of the disorder include:
- Mood changes
- Sleeping problems
- Suicidal tendencies
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Psychotic signs
- Food related issues
Lighter symptoms of this affection include amnesia and headaches. Some people tend to be violent or aggressive towards themselves. For example, a victim might end up doing things that they would not normally do, such as stealing from a friend or blindly driving.
What Is the Difference between the Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia?
These two mental affections are often used interchangeably, yet they are extremely different. Schizophrenia is a severe psychical affection that involves random episodes of chronic psychosis – hallucinations or pure madness.
Unlike most misconceptions, schizophrenic patients do not develop multiple personalities. Some signs are commons though. Suicidal thoughts represent a risk in both affections, but especially in the dissociative identity disorder.
What Is the Treatment for a Dissociative Identity Disorder Patient?
The bad news is there is no actual treatment for the dissociative identity disorder. While there are multiple studies going on in the attempt to find a cure, it is hard to tell what could actually work. However, there is hope. On a positive note, a longterm treatment might actually help the patient. There is one major requirement though – the patient must be fully dedicated to following the treatment and sticking to it. From this point of view, it is helpful if the patient is not left by themselves, so family support is mandatory.
Longterm psychotherapy is an effective treatment that showed results in the past. The same goes for hypnotherapy. There are more types of therapies that can aid in the process, including physical activity therapies or art related therapies.
There is no such thing as a medical treatment to handle the disorder, which makes the psychotherapeutic approach to become the main option in the healing process.
The treatment for adjacent disorder – such as depression – is fundamental in the victim’s general wellbeing. In such situations, the psychotherapeutic procedures may include medications that can help stabilize the patient’s condition.
In the end, the medical world needs more neuroimagistic research on large groups of patients, as well as clinical control groups and repetitive tests in order to fully understand the dissociative identity disorder. What makes the process hard is the fact that there are always the premises of other basic pathologies, such as schizophrenia or various psychopathies. Only time can tell whether this affection will finally see a working cure.