Dissociative Identity Disorder

Posted October 8, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 2 min read

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a mental health condition. People with DID have two or more separate identities. These personalities control their behavior at different times. Each identity has its own personal history, traits, likes and dislikes.

Causes of dissociative identity disorder (DID)

  • DID is usually the result of sexual or physical abuse during childhood.

  • Sometimes it develops in response to a natural disaster or other traumatic events like combat.

  • The disorder is a way for someone to distance or detach themselves from trauma.

Signs and Symptoms of DID

  • A person with DID has two or more distinct identities. The “core” identity is the person’s usual personality.

  • Alters are the person’s alternate personalities. Some people with DID have up to 100 alters.

  • Alters tend to be very different from one another.

  • The identities might have different genders, ethnicities, interests and ways of interacting with their environments.

Other common signs and symptoms of DID can include:

  • Anxiety.

  • Delusions.

  • Depression.

  • Disorientation.

  • Drug or alcohol abuse.

  • Memory loss.

  • Suicidal thoughts or self-harm.

Diagnosis of DID

  • There isn’t a single test that can diagnose DID.

  • A healthcare provider will review your symptoms and your personal health history.

  • They may perform tests to rule out underlying physical causes for your symptoms, such as head injuries or brain tumors.

  • Symptoms of DID often show up in childhood, between the ages of 5 and 10.

  • But parents, teachers or healthcare providers may miss the signs.

  • DID might be confused with other behavioral or learning problems common in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

  • For this reason, DID usually isn’t diagnosed until adulthood.

Treatment of DID

  • Some medications may help with certain symptoms of DID, such as depression or anxiety.

  • But the most effective treatment is psychotherapy.

  • A healthcare provider with specialized training in mental health disorders, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, can guide you toward the right treatment.

  • You may benefit from individual, group or family therapy.

Therapy focuses on:

  • Identifying and working through past trauma or abuse.

  • Managing sudden behavioral changes.

  • Merging separate identities into a single identity.

Prevention of DID

  • There’s no way to prevent DID.

  • But identifying the signs as early in life as possible and seeking treatment can help you manage symptoms.

  • Parents, caregivers and teachers should watch for signs in young children.

  • Treatment soon after episodes of abuse or trauma may prevent DID from progressing.

  • Treatment can also help identify triggers that cause personality or identity changes.

  • Common triggers include stress or substance abuse.

  • Managing stress and avoiding drugs and alcohol may help reduce the frequency of different alters controlling your behavior.

dissociative-identity-disorder multiple-personality-disorder did diseases disorders

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