Understanding Dissociative Identity Disorder

Many people wish they had several personalities in order to forget an incident they really wish they didn’t have to face. There are actually people out in the world who can do this. However, they don’t do this on purpose. They are unaware that, when they face difficult situations, in their minds another person takes their place. These people cannot recall any incident once this happens. This is a psychological problem. It is known as Dissociative Identity Disorder or Multiple Personality Disorder.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a condition where two or more identities or personalities are present in an individual. One person takes control of the other in certain situations. The dormant persons are unaware of this factor and the only thing the actual person who suffers with this illness can say is that he/she does not remember what happened. It is not just forgetfulness, but complete memory loss. The illness is so bizarre that a person can have different blood pressures, emotions and pulses from the host. The illness affects females more than males. Some professionals are impressed with this illness, while others believe it is just an act put upon by a person to cover up some inconsistencies. Yet, there are others who still question various aspects of DID and are yet to come up with an answer.

The cause of Dissociative Identity Disorder is as yet unclear. However, psychologists believe it is caused by a specific childhood trauma. Some professionals believe it is a child’s way of “escaping” severe trauma that he/she is unable to handle as a child. In other words, the child dissociates himself from the traumatic experience. Many people suffer with DID. For example, Kim Noble, the painter, is a British woman who has 100 multiple personalities. Each personality has its own likes and dislikes and quirks and ages and names. She has some male personalities while others are children. The reason for the personalities is still unclear although extreme abuse at the hands of her caregivers is of primary concern. DID can also occur if a person in the family also has the same problem although it is not hereditary.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a psychological problem and, therefore, requires extensive psychiatric treatment. The main aim is to familiarize the person with his or her personalities and come to terms with their feelings and past occurrences. Therapy is paced as excessive pressure may distress the patient and cause anxiety on top of an already problematic condition. Therapy also involves the finding of ways for all personalities to coexist without a problem and also for the person involved to handle moments of memory lapse when he/she dissociates. Therapists may either work at bringing all the personalities together to form one whole or help all the personalities to exist together. Therapists may try hypnosis and medication to arrive at this point.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a very serious and very real problem for many people. It is a mental illness that affects how a person lives and works. However, with proper treatment, a person with this problem may be able to live in society without any problems.

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