What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder is somewhat of a rare mental health condition commonly referred to as DID disorder. In society, many people are curious about the disorder, because it is not a common so people want to know more about the condition.
To define dissociative identity disorder briefly, we look at the previous name of the disorder which was known as: multiple personality disorder. DID disorder is defined as when a person suffers from multiple personalities Taking this information into consideration, dissociative identity disorder is often defined as a condition where an individual has multiple personalities. Depending on the severity of the condition, these shifts in identity are more accurately described as different “states,” rather than entirely distinct personalities, and are often accompanied by lapses in memory.
Dissociative Identity Disorder Symptoms
DID disorder symptoms can be difficult to pick up on, the mental disorder is characterized by having two or more distinct and different personalities. Many times the illness goes unnoticed unless a witness sees the transition between the personalities first hand.
Common signs of dissociative identity disorder:
Inability to recall personal information
Lapses in memory
Distorted perception of time
Many times in DID disorder, the primary personality is not aware of the other alters in personality. Interestingly also, the altered personalities will always be aware of the primary personality, in most cases the personalities will refer to themselves as a plural personal pronouns instead of singular, example of “we” instead of “I”.
There are many other mental health problems that are seen in people who have dissociative identity disorder, including:
Substance Use Disorders
How is Dissociative Identity Disorder Caused?
Most experts agree the condition is most commonly developed after episodes of extreme stress or trauma, but these are not concretely known otherwise. The cause is definitely way beyond the normal experiences of stress that causes DID disorder. Most traumatic events would have came from the individual’s younger years. We see in some cases that extreme emotional abuse and childhood neglect can cause dissociative identity disorder. Children whose parents are often unpredictable may also be more prone to developing this disorder following additional trauma.
Diagnosing Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative disorder symptoms are difficult to detect in most cases. It can take years for an individual struggling with the disorder to receive an accurate diagnosis. Many clinicians are unable to see the presence of more than one personality in the therapy sessions. It could be a number of sessions before a transition is witnessed, if at all. Instead, clinicians must put together the clues based on the other symptoms present, such as not remembering hours at a time or not being able to recall personal information. A diagnosis can be made without witnessing a transition, but all the other signs or symptoms must be applicable.
Testing to diagnose the condition is done with the following test:
Memory gaps when recalling everyday events, personal information and traumatic experiences
Disruption of identity characterized by two or more distinct personality states
There are social, occupational, or other areas of function that are under significant distress from the symptoms displayed by the individual
For dissociative identity disorder diagnosis to be made, meeting the above criteria cannot be attributable to the use of any substance or caused by any other mental health disorder or condition.
Who Is at Risk for Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Children who have been through traumatic events at a young age, including sexual trauma are more susceptible to developing this disorder. Especially if there are no positive influences in their life when it comes to dealing with the trauma, or if the trauma is chronic, the chances of DID development are even higher. Only about 2% of the population have dissociative identity disorder.
The prevalence of the condition is estimated to be 2 percent. Dissociative identity disorder is more common in females. The general assumption is that females experience a higher rate of childhood abuse. It also seems the younger the abuse starts, the more likely it is that DID disorder develops.
Dissociative Identity Disorder and Substance Addiction
Self medication with drinking and drugs is common for those who suffer from dissociative identity disorder. Many of those who suffer from substance addiction and abuse see drinking and drugging as a way to ease their mental health issues. The self-medicating on drugs and alcohol often goes unnoticed until the substance use consumes all aspects of their life. If you or someone you know has been having these types of behaviors; professional treatment is needed as soon as possible.
The best way to ensure recovery for those suffering from a co-occurring disorder in an individualized treatment program. At The Beaches Treatment Center all of our therapists are master’s level clinical staff who are experts in specialized treatment for patients who have co-occurring disorders. Our intensive co-occurring disorder treatment programs are created to treat both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder together in one individualized treatment care plan.
The concurrent disorder treatment therapies we utilize at The Beaches Treatment Center are: 12-Step, EMDR Trauma, Creative Arts Therapy, Yoga, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- these are provided both one-on-one and in peer group therapy sessions.