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Dissociative Identity Disorder
By David Clayton
What is Dissociative identity disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder is a
condition in which a single person displays
multiple distinct identities or
personalities2, each with its own pattern
of perceiving and interacting with the
Symptoms of dissociative identity
Mood swings
Suicidal tendencies
Sleep disorders (insomnia, night terrors, and sleep
Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias (flashbacks,
reactions to stimuli or "triggers")
Alcohol and drug abuse
Compulsions and rituals
Psychotic-like symptoms (including auditory and
visual hallucinations)
Eating disorders
Criteria for diagnosis for Dissociative
Identity Disorder
The patient has at least two distinct identities or personality
states. Each of these has its own, relatively lasting pattern of
sensing, thinking about and relating to self and environment.
 At least two of these personalities repeatedly assume control of
the patient's behavior.
 Common forgetfulness cannot explain the patient's extensive
inability to remember important personal information.
 4This behavior is not directly caused by substance use (such as
alcoholic blackouts) or by a general medical condition.
Symptoms are mainly dissociative and
posttraumatic. These patients generally
function well and recover completely with
 Dissociative symptoms are combined with
prominent symptoms of other disorders, such
as personality disorders, mood disorders,
eating disorders, and substance abuse
disorders. These patients improve more slowly,
and treatment may be less successful or longer
and more crisis-ridden.
Prognosis con.
Patients not only have severe symptoms due to
coexisting mental disorders but may also remain deeply
emotionally attached to their abusers. These patients
can be challenging to treat, often requiring longer
treatments that typically aim to help control symptoms
more than to achieve integration.
Dissociative disorders are not common psychiatric
illnesses but are not rare.
Few good epidemiological studies have been performed
some estimate 1 per 10,000 in the population but
higher proportions are reported among psychiatric
populations between 0.5% and 2%
Some studies show that women make up the majority
of these cases 90% or more. 5
Perhaps 50% of all psychiatrists deny that it even exists.
Schizophrenia VS DID
People seem to most often confuse someone who
is suffering from schizophrenia with someone
who has dissociative identity disorder. While both
are chronic, serious mental health concerns, the
differences between these two disorders are
stark. People with schizophrenia hear or see
things that aren’t there and believe things that
aren’t true, often tied into a complex, irrational
belief system. They do not have multiple identities
or personalities. People with DID do not have
delusion beliefs, outside of their multiple
personalities or identities. The only voices they
hear or talk to are these identities.
Integration of the identity states is the most
desirable outcome. Drugs are widely used
to help manage symptoms of depression,
anxiety, impulsivity, and substance abuse
but do not relieve dissociation.
For patients who cannot or will not strive
for integration, treatment aims to
facilitate cooperation and collaboration
among the identities and to reduce
Haddock, D. B. (2001). The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook.
New York: Mcgraw-Hill.
American Psychological Association. (2000) DSM-IV-TR . Arlington,VA:
American Psychological Association .
Alejandra Swartz. (December 10, 2001). Dissociative Identity Disorder.
In AllPsych Journal. Retrieved undefined, from
John M. Grohol, Psy.D. (7 Sep 2006 ). Dissociative Identity Disorder
Treatment. In Psych Central. Retrieved undefined, from
Michael W. Smith, MD. (April 17, 2008). Dissociative Identity Disorder
(Multiple Personality Disorder). In WebMD . Retrieved undefined,