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“To and fro, where she stops? Nobody knows, with the spin of the head and a countdown is said. Who will she be this time?” (Clark 62)
After unfathomable thinking, do you remain astonished of what this quote signifies?
Allow me to clarify; this quote is regarding an individual who is diagnosed with a disease called Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), but in 1994 it became known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). Dissociative Identity Disorder is a disease that develops throughout an individual childhood leading to two or more personality within that individual.
Usually, these personalities are reminder of themselves or their life’s which may take over that individual action of behavior at any time or any place. In fact, those with DID also have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a trauma-related mental illness affecting 8% of Americans (source #1). As human beings living one earth, we should further educate ourselves about Multiple Personality Disorder considering the causes, symptoms, and treatments to prevent it from spreading.
As far as the causes or factors behind Dissociative Identity Disorder, psychologists have not yet found any proven or specific cause. However, researchers found different causes that are most likely to cause DID.
These causes include emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during that individual childhood. In addition, it may also be involved around natural disaster, war, or family history of split personalities. For instance, a teenager who had been sexually and physically abused by her uncle throughout her childhood is most likely to develop four different personalities.
Each personality represents different phases from her childhood to her teenager experience including: fearful child, rebellious teenager, protective teenager, and the teenager’s original personality.
Nevertheless, only one personality, the protective teenager, is intentionally is aware of the other identities and concerned about others surrounding her. Every day, situations that are similar to this one led to increase of DID in females more than males due to physical and sexual abuse. As a fact, a range of 70% to 95% of patients diagnosed with DID reported childhood abuse. Overall, these causes will lead to one or multiple severe symptoms using different methods.
Even though psychologists have not found specific cause; however, several proven symptoms have been identified during the stages of the disorder. Psychologists discovered that individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder may experience any of the following: depression, mood swings, suicidal tendencies, sleep disorders, panic attacks, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, headaches, compulsion and rituals, psychotic-like symptoms, and “out-of-body experiences”.
Individuals with any of these symptoms are most likely to harm and injure themselves frequently. For instance, a person diagnosed with the disorder is most likely to completely forget significant life events such as birthdays, holidays, appointments and/or family gathering. Usually this disorder is developed before the age of six, but it is diagnosed much later (source #2). Although these symptoms are dreadful and seems impossible to cure; however, Dissociative Identity Disorder can be treated.
After years, researchers discovered treatments that are associated with this disorder; yet, the treatments are long-term, painful, and intensive. These treatments may include: medication, psychotherapy “talk therapy”, hypnotherapy, and art or movement therapy.
Typically, a therapist uses strategies with the patient with the intention of encouraging them to log and monitor emotions, develop crisis plan, and ways to exercise healthy behaviors. For instance, a 25 year old adult that has a background of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse has a crisis plan for dealing with anger and sorrow. One afternoon, she held a precious baby doll smacking it into the wall several times until she got back her feelings and emotions that caused her to be beleaguered.
Once she overcame her emotions then she wrote down the cause of the anger to share it with a friend or a therapist. Mean while, she will listen to relaxing music while holding her favorite stuffed animal and rocking in her chair to get rid of the sorrow. Moreover, patients with the disorder may spend more than seven years in the mental health system going three to four times a week before getting the correct diagnosis. This occurs because DID symptoms are very similar to many other psychiatric diagnoses which require different treatments.
Individuals diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder are living in torment that enables them to describe their feelings or emotions relating to having multiple personalities. As humans we have the tendency of assisting others even if you do not recognize it. For that reason, be willing to listen to individual’s feelings and be kind to all individuals.
One of them might be diagnosed with DID, but you won’t be informed. After all, it is always beneficial to expand our knowledge about disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder also known as Multiple Personality Disorder including the causes, symptoms, and treatments. “The feeling changes, at the drop of a hat. One moment I feel this, the next I feel that. How do I pin down, the feeling inside, and bring them together, so they will no longer hide?”
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