Dissociative Identity Disorder Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is most commonly referred to as “multiple personality disorder”, as that is what it was called before we knew much about it. It refers to an uncommon phenomenon which is a mental disability characterized by a person having multiple identities within one mind. But, what are Dissociative Identity Disorder causes, and how does one know when to get help?
Identifying What DID Actually Is
Dissociative Identity Disorder is a mental health condition that only affects about 1.5% of people in the entire world. The main characteristic of this condition is more than one identity within the same person. Each identity controls the body’s behavior during different times. And, has its own personality, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and feelings. Furthermore, people diagnosed with DID can experience specific symptoms relating to these identities like gaps in memory, hallucinations, and delusions.
Dissociative Identity Disorder Causes
Dissociation is the mind’s ability to disconnect from the world and is the mind’s way of protecting itself from trauma. So, dissociation is, in itself, not abnormal. However, those who have experienced severe trauma may continue to dissociate even after danger is no longer present. This is when a diagnosis for DID occurs. Therefore, Dissociative Identity Disorder causes may include traumatic experiences like:
surviving natural disasters
witnessing or being the victim of a violent crime
being involved in war or combat
being the victim of sexual, emotional, and/or physical abuse
being the victim of kidnapping, torture, or childhood neglect
Overall, dissociation is a way of escaping traumatic events so that the mind doesn’t have to deal with them. But, for those who deal with repeated traumatic experiences, dissociation may become a recurrent issue, leading to the development of a Dissociative Identity Disorder.
Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder
People diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder may share similarities with experienced symptoms. So, identifying these symptoms can give individuals a better idea if they’re living with one of these conditions. Some of the symptoms of DID can include:
forgetfulness and loss of memory
having imaginary friends during childhood
suicidal thoughts or behaviors
other mental health issues like depression or anxiety
altered abilities between identities
ineffective mood disorder treatments
substance use and abuse
having difficulty remembering personal information
mood swings seemingly out of nowhere
Treatments for Dissociative Identity Disorders
While DID is uncommon, there is hope for people living with this disorder. Living with the symptoms of DID can be frustrating and confusing. But, treatment can help reduce symptoms and allow individuals living with this condition to live out lives of wellbeing.
Psychiatric medications are sometimes prescribed to individuals diagnosed with DID to help treat concurring conditions like anxiety or depression. However, unfortunately, there is no current medication that’s successful in treating the symptoms of DID. But, psychotherapeutic methods are helpful for these individuals in order to manage behaviors and unwanted emotions. Some of the things to expect with psychiatric treatment and therapy for DID can include:
educating the individual on how to control dissociative episodes
integration of multiple identities into one self-identity
identifying and addressing past trauma that may have resulted in the development of DID
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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.