Multiple Personality Disorder
Mental disorders have baffled physicians, psychiatrists and the general public since the beginning of time. One particular disorder called Dissociative Identity Disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder, has caused controversy between those who believe it is real and those who think it is purely part of an individual’s imagination. For those who believe strongly in its existence, it poses very real consequences and hardships. Dissociative Identity Disorder has many causes, symptoms, and treatments; unfortunately, those who don’t take it seriously use it as a scapegoat for others undiagnosed problems.
Many people may wonder what specifically defines Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). This disorder is a mental illness that involves the sufferer experiencing two or more clear identities or personalities, also called alters, each of which has their own way of seeing and connecting themselves to the world (1). This disorder was formally known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), and is frequently called split personality disorder (1). The actions of victims with DID are determined by the personality that is dominant at a specific time (7). “In the category of Dissociative Disorder there are four main disorders: depersonalization, derelization, dissociative fugue and dissociative identity disorder (8). Furthermore, “DID is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity” (www.webmd.com). Having a thorough understanding of the meaning of DID is exceedingly significant for the doctors that diagnose and treat patients.
Several theories attempt to explain the causes behind DID, yet none have been scientifically proven. While there is no confirmed cause of DID, the predominant psychological theory about how the condition develops is as a response to childhood trauma (1). An annual report states, “97% of DID victims report a history of childhood trauma, most commonly a combination of emotional, physical and sexual abuse” (7). The victim then, after learning to disassociate themselves from the event (making it seem as if it did not happen or forget details) will quickly learn this as a defense mechanism for other problems big or small (5). The well-defined personalities aid diverse roles in helping the individual cope with life’s dilemmas (6). Additionally, “if the multiple personality disorder is caused by childhood trauma it is likely remembered only as a series of perceptual information- fleeting images, olfactory, auditory, or olfactory sensations”(3). However, DID has been known to be triggered solely by organic causes, such as” temporal lobe epilepsy [which] can lead to split personality disorder”(5). As well as, “Other organic causes of multiple personality disorder include sleep loss, sensory deprivation, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and encephalitis”(3). Psychotherapists and researchers...