Chances are that at some point, you’ve seen a movie or television show that portrayed a person that struggled with having different personalities spring up at them at inconvenient time. Movies like Fight Club and Me, Myself, and Irene may be interesting and even funny, but how accurate are they at actually depicting Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) was formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder and has been heavily contested about its very existence among psychologists and psychiatrists in the mental health field. A basic understanding of DID is needed in order to discuss the controversies and disagreements within the medical community.
What is DID?
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, Dissociative Identity Disorder is characterized by the person having different personalities and is caused by a traumatic event which causes the person to dissociate with that tragic occurrence. This dissociation is thought to be a way for the person to cope with this event. Events of this nature include physical, mental, or sexual abuse at a young age or even being the victim of a traumatic natural disaster.
Symptoms of DID
Like any medical issue, the signs and symptoms of DID can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms of dissociative disorders include:
- Memory lapses – events, people, and time periods cannot be remembered by the sufferer
- Combination of other mental illness issues are often present including depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts
- Not having a clear picture of oneself
- Feeling detached from emotions or present events
If these symptoms are present, the best course of action is to meet with your doctor so that they can give you the next course of action you should take.
Treatment for DID
When you meet with a doctor, the first test that should be done is a physical in order to determine whether the symptoms you experience are a result of your overall physical wellness. Since the symptoms of DID can occur with injury or even lifestyle choices, these need to be examined and documented in order to figure out the true root to the symptoms.
If a physical is performed and the doctor cannot find a reason for you to experience the symptoms of DID, then a trained therapist should be recommended. Since DID is still heavily contested among mental health professionals, it’s important that your referral to a therapist be with someone who is trained and has experience in treating DID patients. Your therapist will take a look into what may be causing the symptoms of DID, such as your family history, any memories of abuse, and what the alters’ personalities and characteristics are like.
The important thing to realize with DID is that treatment options are available and those suffering with this rare disorder are able to get help they need. One more popular way to treat the disorder is by hypnosis. Hypnosis allows the therapist to interact with the alters and learn more about what their role is in helping the sufferer dissociate with the traumatic event that happened in their life.