Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder is also known as Multiple Personality Disorder and involves two or more different personalities that take turns controlling the individual. The individual also experiences unusual memory loss. There have been more reported cases of Dissociative Identity Disorder than in the past but the diagnosis is very controversial. Rather than manifesting distinct personalities it is now understood that those with Dissociative Identity Disorder suffer from a fragmentation or splintering of their identity that is brought about by persistent and severe episodes of childhood trauma or neglect.

It can take as much as seven years before someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder is accurately diagnosed because their symptoms are often similar to those experienced by people with depression, schizophrenia, and anxiety. Dissociative Identity Disorder can be a way of coping with exposure to sexual, physical, or emotional abuse over a long period of time. Those who have been exposed to natural disasters and combat are more likely to experience Dissociative Identity Disorder than members of the general population.

What are the Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative amnesia that involves not being able to remember important personal information and everyday events, difficulty functioning and severe distress, emotional numbness, the disturbance can’t be associated with drug abuse or some other medical condition, lacking a sense of self-identity, out of body experiences, and mental health conditions such as depression, suicidal ideation, and anxiety. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder than men.

How is Dissociative Identity Disorder Treated?

Talk therapy, hypnosis, art therapy, and movement therapy are often used to treat Dissociative Identity Disorder. Anti-anxiety and antidepressants are often prescribed because those suffering from Dissociative Identity disorder also tend to suffer from anxiety and depression.

Last Reviewed:
September 20, 2016
Last Updated:
September 06, 2017