The Main Symptom of Dissociative Identity Disorder

Ordinarily the disorder begins in childhood or adolescence, although the symptoms may not become visible to others for many years. In childhood, individuals with dissociative identity disorder often appear temperamental or irresponsible because they may switch personalities suddenly or deny having done something they no longer remember. Doctors often misdiagnose people with this disorder as having other mental illnesses. Although critics claim the disorder is an invention of therapists, most experts agree it is a real but rare condition.

In 1994 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) replaced the name of the disorder from multiple personality disorder to dissociative identity disorder.

Psychiatrists wanted to give emphasis to the fact that the disorder does not really consist of many personalities living in one body, but rather of a failure to combine different aspects of identity into a unified personality.

In a sense, people with this disorder suffer not from having more than one personality but rather from having less than one personality. Most individuals with dissociative identity disorder report histories of severe and repeated physical, sexual, or emotional abuse in childhood.

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This does not mean that everyone with the disorder was necessarily mistreated.

However, most psychiatrists now comprehend the disorder as a response to chronic trauma and stress. People habitually enter altered states of consciousness in the middle of traumatic events such as physical or sexual assault, natural catastrophes, car accidents, or fighting. They separate or dissociate themselves from their immediate circumstances as a means of guarding themselves from overwhelming mental or physical pain.

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In dissociative identity disorder this helpful ability may become altered by repeated trauma, leading to separate personality states that may be triggered by any anxiety or stress.

The best remedy for the disorder is long-term psychotherapy directed at helping patients to gain understanding into each of their personality states, work through the aftermath of traumatic memories, achieve greater self-acceptance, and reduce self-damaging behavior. Hypnosis may help a person control spontaneous switching of personality states. Many people with this disorder suffer from depression and may benefit from antidepressant medication as well. Dissociative identity disorder, also called multiple personality disorder, is a type of amnesia in which a person appears to have two or more distinct personal identities.

These identities alternate in their control of the individual's conscious experiences, thoughts, and actions. In many cases, the person's primary identity cannot recall what happened while the individual was controlled by another identity. . Although functional amnesias are a recurrent theme of television shows and movies, relatively few well- documented cases exist in the scientific literature. Most specialists believe that these conditions do exist, but that they are extremely rare.

Updated: Apr 05, 2023
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The Main Symptom of Dissociative Identity Disorder. (2023, Apr 05). Retrieved from

The Main Symptom of Dissociative Identity Disorder essay
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