What is DID?
It is under dissociative disorders. First, what does dissociation mean? It means disconnecting. A dissociative disorder means where individual disconnects from his or her own thoughts, feelings or sense of identity itself. For some people, it is a technique to block out the painful trauma experienced by the person. This also includes disorders like dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, and depersonalisation other than multiple personality disorder. It basically means an escaping mechanism for people suffering from these types of disorders.
In dissociative identity disorder, the person might have and exhibits 2 or more personalities which are contrasting and separate personalities that he or she may or may not even be aware of each other. It is generally associated with a person’s traumatic experiences. It is where people switch from one personality to another. And they might know the other personality like another person. And people with this disorder might also suffer from amnesia. This is how it is described in DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. It seems people with DID mostly have less than 10 identities, some people have less than 100. The average number of personalities that a person suffering from multiple personality disorder is 16.
According to Murray, an individual having two or more distinct personalities with the ability to take over control of the individual who has DID i.e. dissociative identity disorder.
Ellert Nijenhuis and his associates suggested that there is a distinction between the individual personalities – first there is apparently normal part of the personality (ANP) which is responsible for their day to day activities and then the emotional part of the personality (EP) which emerges from their personal experiences and their situations.
There are some myths and the real facts of the people who have dissociative identity disorder. They are as follows:
- DID people are just pretending – no it is real as the person experiencing it has the symptoms and it is the understanding of the illness that should develop.
- People with DID are violent – no sometimes they are considered as the evil which is not true it is just an exaggeration of their coping mechanism. He
- DID is schizophrenia – no it is schizophrenia as a person who has DID doesn’t experience delusions or hallucinations. And that person is not even aware of his or her alter.
- People with DID call their alter personality voluntarily – no it is an involuntary action and people with DID are not aware of their other personalities.
- DID can be treated with medication – there is no medication for DID but for managing post-traumatic stress disorder (PSTD), depression, anxiety, etc. So it helps for managing the symptoms or sometimes may it worse. So we need to be careful.
Researches show that 2 % of the population in the world experience dissociation identity disorder. As DID is rare comparatively and complicated to learn. Studies show that DID is more commonly diagnosed in women than men because most females are victims of abuse or violence or mistreatment and for men, it may be war or severe neglect or any painful experiences. These form traumatic memories and dissociative identity disorder acts as a coping mechanism. The prevalence of dissociative identity disorder is 0.1% to 1%. Sometimes DID is misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, etc.
How do we know or identity that people are suffering from DID and how can we treat it?
Some of the symptoms or signs are shown of people suffering dissociative identity disorder are as follows:-
- Have problems with eating and sleeping patterns.
- Have depression, severe mood swings and also have experienced anxiety.
- 70% of people have attempted suicide – constant suicidal thoughts and show self-harm behaviours.
- The amnesia that is memory loss.
- Childhood trauma is reported by most of the patients.
- Feeling of detachment from their work, relationships, etc.
- Can even have headaches.
- And Substance abuse that is usages of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc.
Some of the causes of split personality disorders are: there are no particular factors or causes for DID. It seems in most of the cases in multiple personality disorder have a trauma involved in their lives. And mostly these traumas have happened in their childhood which has affected them deeply. And it can be seen sometimes through like having disturbed sleep patterns, etc. Some of the types of trauma found are like abuse, neglect, war etc. It also affects the relationship of the person suffering from DID with others. DID is seen as a defence mechanism for the traumas and stress experienced. People with DID are generally are not satisfied with their lives, personality, or situation etc.
There are techniques for diagnosing and curing or treating dissociative identity disorders: – First, keep a test or an examination such as asking in-depth questions about your health, check if the patient has constant memory loss, headaches, sleeping routine etc. Second, examinations about your mental health like your thoughts, behaviours, etc and collect information from your family and close friends. Then check if all the symptoms are seen in DSM-5.
There are no such specific medications for the treatment of dissociative identity disorder but antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic drugs can help to control the symptoms of DID. Some techniques are cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnosis. The best technique is psychotherapy or talks therapy or counselling. It is all about talking with an experienced therapist. Who will understand your condition and can help you overcome with your stressful circumstances and give you coping technique and these conservations will help let go of past and concentrate on the present and set goals towards the future.
According to Deborah Bray Haddock, an author of a book written about the dissociative disorder – “Did i.e. dissociative identity disorder is all about survival! As people begin to appreciate this concept, individuals with DID will start to feel less as though they have to hide in shame. People with DID develops as a response to extreme trauma that occurs at an early age and usually over an extended period of time.”
Hence, split personality is just another defence or coping mechanism just like stressing, crying about the problem, positive thinking etc. DID – dissociative identity disorder is a mental disorder which is less known among the people and if treated properly it can be easily cured.