Jan 22

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)


The diagnosis most know as Multiple Personality Disorder was renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder in 1994. This condition is often mistaken for Schizophrenia due to the etymology (or origin) of the word schizophrenia being split brain. These are two distinct disorders (see article on Schizophrenia). While Hollywood portrays Dissociative Identity Disorder, herein referred to as DID, often in movies and television, true DID is quite rare. DID is strongly associated with sexual abuse at a young age. In DID, two or more distinct personalities are present in the same person, each being dominant at varying times. When each alternate personality takes control, the individual experiences long periods of memory loss while “dormant”. Certain personalities may take control based on situations/stressors experienced at the time.

Symptomology: The individual living with DID’s personality is splintered. The individual does not “grow” new identities, as the former diagnosis of MPD would suggest; hence the name change. “DID reflects a failure to integrate various aspects of identity, memory and consciousness in a single multidimensional self. Usually, a primary identity carries the individual’s given name and is passive, dependent, guilty and depressed. When in control, each personality state, or alter, may be experienced as if it has a distinct history, self-image and identity. The alters’ characteristics—including name, reported age and gender, vocabulary, general knowledge, and predominant mood—contrast with those of the primary identity. Certain circumstances or stressors can cause a particular alter to emerge. The various identities may deny knowledge of one another, be critical of one another or appear to be in open conflict.” – “Psychology Today” 11/14

Treatment and Prognosis: There are currently no medications to treat or cure DID, though psychotropic medications are used to assist in coping. Long-term intensive psychotherapy attempt to reassociate the fragments.

Relevance to National Paranormal Society: Since personalities present in an individual living with DID vary as do those among a group of typical persons, it would be likely that claims of activity are parts of the fragmented memories of that particular personality, rather than what was actually occurring in the presenting situation.