The study of psychological and mental health is an area that continues to attract prominent attention. This is because the implications of such illnesses or diseases are usually far-reaching. It is in this light that, in recent times, various studies have emerged identifying multiple psychological disorders.
Noteworthy, prime among these psychological disorders is the dissociative identity disorder (DID) previously regarded as multiple personality disorder. It represents a complex mental state resulting from various factors. In view of contributing to the research into the concept, this paper takes a cursory look at it.
This involves a psychological state where a person experiences a severe and intense disassociation from things and people. Usually, it is a mental process that results in the absence of connection within an individual’s thoughts, feelings, memories, sense of identity, and actions (Cleveland Clinic, 2016).
It involves a mental condition where a person experiences breakdown or disruption of memory, identity, awareness, and sometimes perception. Usually, individuals with DID create multiple personalities, mostly alternate to the usual character, and those personalities can arise on their own. In such cases, the individual is unaware of such a change in their nature (Bhandari, 2020).
Usually, these alter, or split personalities have different age, race, or sex from the actual individual. In most cases, there is also a difference in the manner of talking, walking, posture, and gesture (Bhandari, 2020).
With each alters, comes a distinct personality in thoughts and behavior. Generally, this occurs through switching, which can take a few minutes and sometimes multiple days (Cleveland Clinic, 2016).
Generally, DID cases remain rare, with studies claiming that it affects only around 1 percent of the total population (Cleveland Clinic, 2016). However, they are more prominent in females than in males. Similarly, they can occur regardless of an individual’s age.
Regardless, most research into the concept indicates that DID is usually a psychological reaction to various environmental and interpersonal stresses that an individual experiences. Often, these experiences occur at childhood, such as in cases of emotional abuse or neglect.
In such cases, these experiences interfere with the individual’s personality development. Noteworthy, this represents the most genuine risk factor of dissociative identity disorder.
For instance, research indicates that around 99 percent of people who suffer from dissociative disorders have a personal history of recurring, life-threatening, and overpowering trauma or disturbances at their developmental stage – often before six years.
These experiences often include sexual abuse, physical abuse, accidents, war, natural disaster, the early loss of a significant person such as a parent, and isolation from others due to an illness or other circumstances.
Research shows that following any of the experiences identified above, DID arises as a form of coping mechanism. Precisely, individuals mentally establish such disconnection to disconnect and avoid the reality of such a traumatic and stressful situation. Their brains utilize DID to defend them from the painful memories such that the brain maintains normal functioning as if the experiences did not occur.
Usually, DID cases involve the presence or exhibition of multiple, yet split personality or identity by an individual. Beyond this, various symptoms emerge as a result of DID, and they include the following.
First, there might be an inability to recall or recollect key personal information. Usually, this information is valuable knowledge that forms a prominent part of the actual personality (Cleveland Clinic, 2016).
However, since the personality has changed, and such information is not a part of the new character, it becomes impossible to recollect. Noteworthy, in this case, only an example of forgetting important and core information suffices as a symptom of DID (Bhandari, 2020).
Also, people suffering from DID exhibits changes in their level of performance or functioning. For instance, they can experience a drop from capable to disabled or disturbed. They also experience headaches and pains in their body part.
Another prominent symptom of individuals with DID is the tendency to self-sabotage, persecute themselves, and inflict violence on others and sometimes themselves. They might also experience sleeping and eating disturbances, substance abuse, hallucinations, and mood swings, and depression (Bhandari, 2020).
Generally, these changes can be categories under the following (Bhandari, 2020).
Usually, individuals suffering from DID will experience depersonalization. This involves a situation where such individuals experience detachment from their bodies. It is generally regarded as an “out-of-body” experience.
Usually, individuals suffering from DID will experience derealization. This involves a situation where such individuals view the world and unreal, far away, and lacking promise for them.
Usually, individuals suffering from DID will experience amnesia. This involves a situation where such individuals are unable to recall important and significant personal details. In such cases, it is beyond mere forgetfulness.
This might sometimes be in the form of micro-amnesia, which involves situations where such individuals do not remember information from discussions or meaningful conversations within seconds.
Usually, individuals suffering from DID will experience identity alteration or identity confusion. This involves a situation where such individuals cannot identify who they are. This might include trouble defining their interest in life, religious, social or political viewpoints, sexual orientation, or professional ambitions.
Generally, DID spans a lifetime when left untreated. As such, treatment is usually necessary by mental health professionals with experience and specialized training on disassociation (Bhandari, 2020).
Noteworthy, treatment through medications does not apply to the treatment of DID because it is not an organic disorder or chemical imbalance. Regardless, anxiolytics and antidepressants might be relevant to help mood disorders (Bhandari, 2020).
Other relevant treatment methods include psychotherapy, group therapy, family therapy, and clinical hypnosis. However, there are some controversies about clinical hypnosis as it involves implanting individuals suffering from DID with false memories. However, treatment usually requires a long time (Bhandari, 2020).
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