Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), commonly referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a mental health illness. In this, a person has two or more separate identities and personalities, each with their own way of feeling, thinking, and acting. These identities may have distinct names, ages, genders, and attributes, and they may control the person’s conduct at various times.
DID is assumed to be caused by severe and protracted traumatic experiences that the individual is unable to comprehend or cope with, such as childhood abuse or neglect. As a result, the person may dissociate from their traumatic experiences, developing various identities or personalities to cope with the stress. The disorder is uncommon, but when it does arise, it can substantially influence the individual’s life and the lives of others around them.
Signs and Symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder
The signs and symptoms of multiple personality disorder differ from person to person; however, some prevalent ones are:
- Memory loss or gaps: People with DID may have trouble remembering specific events or periods, or they may have no memory of particular identities or personalities.
- Depersonalization and derealization: People with DID may feel detached from their own identities, as if they are watching themselves from afar, or as if the world around them is not real.
- Mood swings: People with DID may have sudden and dramatic mood fluctuations, such as swinging from happy to sad, or from calm to anxious. These mood swings could be linked to a shift in identities or personalities.
- Dissociation: People with DID may experience dissociation, which can involve feeling detached from one’s body, as if they are in a dream, or as if they are outside of themselves.
- Several identities or personalities: People with DID may have multiple identities or personalities, each with its own name, age, gender, and characteristics.
- Triggers: Certain events or situations might cause a person to switch between identities or personalities. For example, a person may transition to a different personality when stressed or threatened.
- Physical symptoms: People with DID may experience physical symptoms such as headaches, discomfort, or seizures that are not explained by any medical diagnosis.
The Psychological Processes of Multiple Personality Disorder
The psychological processes of dissociative identity disorder alter how a person sees life in a number of significant ways, including the following:
- Depersonalization: This feeling of separation from the body is frequently referred to as an “out-of-body experience.”
- Derealization: This is the sensation that the world seems unreal, hazy, or distant.
- Amnesia: This is the inability to remember crucial personal details that is so severe it cannot be attributed to ordinary forgetfulness. Micro-amnesias are also possible, in which the topic of a conversation is forgotten or the details of a significant exchange are forgotten from one second to the next.
- Identity Confusion or Identity Alteration: Both of these involve a feeling of uncertainty about one’s identity. When a person struggles to define their interests in life, their political, religious, or social opinions, their sexual orientation, or their career goals, this is an example of identity uncertainty. The person may also feel distortions in time, place, and situation in addition to these apparent changes.
It takes time to identify dissociative identity disorder. It is estimated that dissociative disorder patients spend seven years in the mental health system before receiving a correct diagnosis. Given how many different mental illnesses have many of the same symptoms, this is usual and what prompts someone with a dissociative disorder to seek therapy. In fact, many people who suffer from dissociative disorders also have anxiety, dejection, borderline, or other personality disorders as co-diagnoses.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders contains the criteria for making the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity disorder (DID), often known as multiple personality disorder (DSM-5).
An individual must satisfy the following requirements in order to be given a DID diagnosis:
- The existence of two or more separate personalities or identities, each with their own way of feeling, thinking, and acting.
- Gaps in memory that cannot be accounted for by ordinary forgetfulness, or other medical or neurological problems are known as amnesia, and identity disturbances, such as a feeling of alienation or separation from oneself.
- Significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other areas of functioning must be caused by the symptoms.
- The presence of a substance’s side effects or another illness cannot be the cause of the symptoms.
Complications of Multiple Personality Disorder
Dissociative illnesses can cause a variety of psychiatric issues. In addition to dissociation and multiple or split identities, such as the following symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
Now to the question, “Is Multiple personality disorder curable?”, although there is no “cure” for dissociative identity disorder. If the patient is devoted, long-term treatment can be beneficial. Treatment that works includes:
- Psychotherapy: This is often known as talk therapy, and aims to address the issues that led to and brought on the DID. The objective is to “fuse” the various personality features into a single integrated personality that is able to manage the triggers. Family members often take part in this therapy.
- Hypnotherapy: Clinical hypnosis can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy to access repressed memories, manage some of the troublesome behaviors that come along with DID, and assist in the fusion of the personas into one.
- Add-on treatment: It has been demonstrated that therapies like art or movement therapy can assist patients in reopening mental circuits that have been shut down as a result of trauma.
You need to know that not everyone with DID will experience all of these symptoms, and the severity and length of the symptoms may vary. A mental health professional makes the diagnosis of DID, which involves the presence of recurring gaps in the recall of everyday occurrences, symptoms of depersonalization and derealization, and the presence of two or more separate identities or personalities.
Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) or Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a complex and dangerous disorder that requires the care of skilled and trained mental health specialists. DID treatment often consist of therapy and medication. It is important to address the underlying causes and the impact of the disease on the person’s life, as well as focus on integrating the various personalities into a single cohesive identity.