Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a complex mental health condition that typically occurs after severe childhood trauma. It used to be called multiple personality disorder, but researchers have since found that patients do not have several personalities. Instead, they have a sense of self that has become fractured enough that the different aspects are no longer integrated. Every case is different, and researchers are still looking into the neurological and psychological components. The disorder has been badly misrepresented in media, and individuals with dissociative identity disorder are no more likely to be violent or predatory than the average population.
Although there are dissociative identity disorder treatments out there, they are challenging. Most patients will require psychotherapy for this condition. In many cases, they will also have hypnotherapy for dissociative identity disorder. Medication is often used when patients also have anxiety or depression, so they will take anxiety medication or antidepressants. Of course, effective treatment for dissociative identity disorder starts with understanding the symptoms.
Multiple Or Split Personalities
The most characteristic symptom of dissociative identity disorder that individuals recognize is multiple or split personalities. However, calling them 'personalities' is questionable. Rather than having multiple personalities, a patient with this disorder has several alternate senses of self (alters) that are not unified as a whole. Alters typically each have their own name, speech, memories, and distinct body language.
When an alter 'fronts,' which means that they are the one controlling the individual's body and interacting with the world, they typically do not have access to the memories of the other alters. This can lead to blackouts, which is where the dissociative portion of the disorder's name comes in. Unfortunately, there has not been enough research proving how alters form neurologically or why. The most prevalent theory is that different alters are a form of self-protection. A protective alter, for instance, may endure abuse so the main 'host' does not have to experience those memories.
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