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Dissociative Identity Disorder Essay

747 words - 3 pages

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Sexual molestation, beating, neglect, burning, and verbal abuse. All of these horrible happenings are believed to be linked to a condition known as Multiple personality disorder (MPD). Multiple personality disorder, also known as dissociative identity disorder, is a mental illness in which a person has two or more identities or personalities. Single personalities randomly take control of the individual's behavior. Usually, the sufferer gives the personalities their own names. These multiple personalities almost always have characteristics that greatly differ from the person's primary identity. A person with this disorder always experiences some amount of amnesia. Most of the time the individual forgets what each personality has done or said.

People often act and feel differently in various settings. For example, teenagers may act differently at a party than they do at school. However, people in good mental health maintain constant awareness of themselves no matter what the situation. Individuals with dissociative identity disorder do not. They experience sudden changes in consciousness, identity, and memory. They may discover new clothing in their closet without knowing where they got it, or even find themselves in a strange place and not remember how they got there. Their identity is broken into pieces consisting of different emotions, memories, and styles. They may shift from being passive and accepting to being hostile and uncooperative. Sometimes one personality may cause the individual to inflict physical harm on his or her own body.

The first recorded diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder was in 1815. The patient's name was Mary Reynolds. This case however was not associated with abuse or neglect. It wasn't until 1973 that Doctors started to make the connection between the disease, the abuse, and/or trauma.

In 1994 the American Psychiatric Association (APA) changed the name of the disorder from multiple personality disorder to dissociative identity disorder. Psychiatrists wanted to emphasize the fact that the disorder is not really made up of many personalities living in one body, but rather of a failure to integrate various aspects of identity into a unified personality (www.mentalhelp.net). Simply put, individuals who suffer from this condition have only parts of personalities. Instead of any one complete identity.

Multiple personality disorder is, in most cases, related directly to physical and sexual abuse as a child. It is extremely difficult, if...

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