Dissociative identity disorder, also know as multiple personality disorder (up until 1994) is a rare condition in which two or more distinct identities/personalities are present in- and alternatively take control of an individual.
(American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
According to the DSM-5, the following criteria must be met for an individual to be diagnosed with dissociative Identity Disorder;
Individual experiences two or more distinct identities or personality states.
The disruption in identity involves a change in sense of self, and changes in behavior, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition, and motor function.
Frequent gaps are found in individuals memories of history including people, places, and events. (These recurrent gaps are not consistent with ordinary forgetting.)
The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
-Population affected by identity disorder (very rare)
- More females than males have DID (9:1)
- Possibly due to the fact that more women experience childhood sexual abuse
- .01-1% of people are affected
- Most cases are children living in America
- DID is a way to cope with trauma
- Studies suggest that DID also has biological factors
- Individuals who develop DID frequently report having experienced severe physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse during childhood
- Individuals may develop DID from stress due to traumatic life events (ex: natural disaster) similar to those who have PTSD
- DID can also develop from early life medical procedures
American Psychiatric Association, 2013)
- The presence of smaller hippocampus and amygdala volumes are seen in patients with DID
- In both animal and human studies, stress has been shown to be associated with changes in the structure of the hippocampus, which plays a critical role in learning, memory, and stress regulation
Stress is one of the leading factors affecting volume of the hippocampus
This emphasizes the association of stress with DID (early exposure, volume of stress)
There are differences in the biochemical responses to trauma
1. Psychotherapy - deconstructing different personalities to try to interstate them into one
3. Medication - antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, tranquilizers (mostly to help physiological symptoms, NOT a cure in itself)