It is when a person feels disconnected, as if that person wanted to escape from reality. But the escape is not voluntary.
Dissociative identity disorder affects a small part of the population. It is a complex medical condition, so there is a lot to learn about it.
Here is more on dissociative identity disorder: who gets it, what causes it, what its symptoms are, and how it’s treated.
This disorder has a specific characterization. It is when a person feels disconnected, as if that person wanted to escape from reality. But the escape is not voluntary. Instead, a person’s memory, thoughts, consciousness, and reality are disconnected.
As defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), there are three kinds of dissociative disorders.
Amnesia happens when a person cannot recall certain things about themselves. This can be due to a traumatic event, abuse, or combat. Or, sometimes it has to do with life history. Yet, that is rarer. It can start suddenly and the length of time varies. It may last a few minutes, a few hours, or days. In some cases it can last for years.
This disorder creates a sense of detachment. People who suffer from depersonalization disorder may feel that the things going on are unreal — almost as if they were in a movie. This unreal feeling affects a person’s feelings, sensations, thoughts, and actions. It may last a few moments and can often reoccur over the years.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
This is the disorder in this article. It used to be known as multiple personality disorder. A person with this disorder alternates personalities. They often believe there are voices in their head. These voices are not only unique but also have different voices, characteristics, personalities, mannerisms, and more.
A person who has this disorder will have memory lapses that include everything from day-to-day happenings to past trauma.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the symptoms and signs of dissociative identity disorders include:
One thing that is important is the risk factor associated with this disorder. Around 70 percent of those with DID have attempted suicide at some point in their lives. Self-injury is also common in these patients.
There are a few things that cause DID. These include long-term sexual abuse, child abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and traumas like those from combat or natural disasters.
While there is no specific roadmap of who gets this disorder, statistics show that around 90 percent of people with dissociative identity disorder have a past history of childhood neglect and abuse. And these numbers are not just from the United States but Canada and Europe too.
Dissociative identity disorder has related conditions that have trauma as a cause, such as:
A professional must diagnose this disorder. It is partially diagnosed through reviews of personal history or symptoms. There are some tests that can rule out if there are other issues instead of it being dissociative disorder.
Cultural background plays a part in this disorder. For example, a person from another country who is exposed to another culture may seem to exhibit an alternative personality.
Yet, this does not count. The disturbance must not be a normal part of a broadly accepted cultural or religious practice. As noted in the DSM-51, in many cultures around the world, experiences of being possessed are a normal part of spiritual practice and are not dissociative disorders.
For those with a dissociative identity disorder, there are a few treatment methods available. The most effective include the following.
The most popular and successful treatment for dissociative identity disorder is psychotherapy. According to Psychiatry:
The goal of therapy is to help integrate the different elements of identity. Therapy may be intense and difficult as it involves remembering and coping with past traumatic experiences. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are two commonly used types of therapy. Hypnosis has also been found to be helpful in the treatment of dissociative identity disorder.
EMDR is another effective treatment option. This method focuses on the past, present, and future. The client thinks of a disturbing event. The client is then led through eye-tracking movement or bilateral stimulation. It has proven to be effective according to a study published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.
While there are no specific medications that cure dissociative identity disorder, medication may treat some of the symptoms. For example, depression can be treated with anti-depressants.
Here at Transformations, we offer customized treatment plans for all of our patients. We do not believe in a quick fix or a plan that is just like everyone else’s plan. Instead, we combine treatment options that are specific to the person.
Along with the above-mentioned treatment options, we also offer holistic treatment and experiential treatment, which includes EDMR.
If you or someone you love needs help with dissociative identity disorder, contact us so we can help.