It’s natural for individuals to not feel connected with themselves or their surroundings. So consequently the word dissociative raises a few questions when it comes to this illness. Like all disorders, it can mean that the symptoms are more serious, than they are with those who do not struggle with Disassociative Identity Disorder, to the point that it disrupts their lives. Thank God, this mental illness is becoming increasingly understood, which makes it easier for it to be identified and appropriately treated. This article addresses common questions, but if the reader fears that someone they know or themselves can identify with the symptoms, they should seek professional help.
What Is Disassociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as DID, is also known as Multiple Personalities Disorder. While it is normal for a person to have a moment of dissociation between thoughts and actions, the case is more severe for those who suffer from DID. This lack of connection can affect their identities and personality states, showing a great change of behavior followed by a memory impairment, which is the cause of the multiple personalities.
Substance abuse, other medical conditions, and imaginative children should not have the changes in their personalities accounted to DID as any external factors do not just trigger this disorder. This dissociation is an unconscious defense mechanism usually developed by a traumatic experience.
Cause Of Disassociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative disorders are the result of trauma, emerging as a coping mechanism to deal with the stress caused by it. It can go undiagnosed until adulthood, but when a child is exposed to an extended period of abuse and neglect, this is when this mental illness starts to develop. It protects the person’s consciousness from the events they experience, so when a child is repeatedly violented, they can escape from this experience and block the memories of this abuse. In severe cases, this dissociation can result in an individual developing more than one personality.
It is important to note that not all abused children end up dealing with DID. However, it is more common with this group that it is with non-abused children.
The Facts About Disassociative Identity Disorder
Because studies are relatively recent, it is unknown how common DID truly is. It was once considered to be rare, but experts say it is more common than previously thought. Due to the increase of child abuse documented since the beginning of this century, some believe that at least 1% of the population might suffer from Dissociative Identity Disorder, while others argue that this number can reach 3%.
This disorder can be treated with antipsychotics and anticonvulsants, as well as antidepressants, and is believed to be a trauma-related disorder. The name Dissociative Identity Disorder was created in 1994 to replace its former term: multiple personality disorder. The Sidran Institute is devoted to education around trauma disorder, and it believes that people with DID have a posttraumatic stress disorder (PSD)
One of the key characteristics of dissociative disorders is dissociative amnesia. This is when an individual blocks a particular event in their lives. A woman who suffers from DID has shared a personal story in which one of her alternate personality states (“alter”) took over and put her in a traumatic situation; after arguing with her sister, she felt stressed, and this “change” took over.
The woman then left her house and was a victim of rape. The memory was triggered when she faced another traumatic event, yet she could not remember many details of that night.
These “alters” are known to take over in times of stress as a coping mechanism.
Treatment For Disassociative Identity Disorder
Although not all dissociative disorders require the patient to be hospitalized, those who present danger to themselves can surely benefit from it as being in the hospital. It allows them to be separated from stressful situations and ongoing traumas that can be a trigger, and it protects them and those around them by keeping the patients from harming.
Effective ways to treat DID are through different therapies. Psychotherapy is the most common, guiding the patient to identify their symptoms and develop coping skills, hypnosis or a drug-facilitated interview, is used to access the subconscious of the patient, and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) allows the patient to reprocess hidden traumas safely.
Encourage Yourself: There are many who don’t believe that mention illness is real, but allow me to inform you that it is very real. Hopefully this short review on Disassociative Identity Disorder will enlighten you so that you might be a little more mindful of those dealing with this illness. Remember to pray for those suffering from DID.