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Multiple Personality: Is It Reality or Fiction?

Maria de Piña
6 min read
Multiple Personality: Is It Reality or Fiction?

Film and television have used multiple personalities as an argument or inspiration for their productions on thousands of occasions. And seeing it so much on the screen, some come to think that it is the magic of cinema, but it is not.

Dissociative identity disorder, commonly referred to as multiple personality, is quite real and is one of the most fascinating disorders studied by science. I invite you to know everything about this conflict and how to identify who owns it.

What is multiple personality disorder about?

What is multiple personality disorder about?

It is called dissociative identity disorder, because the sufferer suffers from a mental disconnection regarding their memories, identity, environment, thoughts, among others.

Basically, the person blocks a part of himself, to escape from reality.

This causes the mind to fragment and other personalities are born as a means of defense against traumatic events and situations. The other personalities are totally different, they can have a different age, sex, origin and a very different attitude.

The symptom that most experience is memory block, making traumatic memories unaffected. But, according to the intensity and continuity in the causes of the disorder, we can see the case of multiple personality.

The most famous known case of this conflict of personalities is that of Billy Milligan, a man with more than 20 personalities and who committed several crimes because of this. Since then, the conflict has become more relevant and is being studied with more interest.

Symptoms of multiple personality disorder

The symptoms of this problem go beyond a change of mood, there are often those who interpret them as madness, but they are facing the manifestation of the disorder. A person with multiple identity experiences the following:

Amnesia

Memory failure in this disorder is common, the person not only represses memories of the past, but also forgets actions carried out in the present. You may not remember what you did the day before or even a conversation within minutes of having it.

It is also usual that if you have two or three personalities you do not remember what you are doing, when the other identities take over your mind.

Change of identity

Whoever has the disorder in this phase harbors more than one identity within their mind and these take control for a certain time, leaving the original personality isolated. When this happens, the change is radical and obvious to anyone who makes contact.

The affected person speaks, thinks and acts like someone totally different, they present themselves with a different name and history than the person we know.

They question reality

The sudden changes and the condition they suffer from often make them believe that they are in an unreal world. They may assume that they are in a dream or that they are out of their body.

Disorientation

This symptom is quite normal, since they lose track of time and space frequently. They confuse the days, they do not comply with scheduled events and appointments, and many times they ask for guidance about the place or year in which they are.

Suicidality and self-harm

A study revealed that when suffering the episodes, many of the patients come to self-harm as they are controlled by one of the other identities. It was also found that at least 70% of patients have attempted suicide.

This last point is understandable, since the mental condition becomes chaotic and suicide is interpreted as an escape method to free oneself.

What causes this disorder?

Traumatic events triggering multiple personality disorder

As with many other disorders, an exact cause cannot be determined, but IDD (identity disorder) has been shown to be linked to traumatic events. Most of these occur in childhood, affecting the person throughout his life.

The most frequent scenarios that those affected go through are:

  • Physical abuse and mistreatment.

  • sexual abuse

  • psychological torture.

  • Relevant losses of close people.

  • Divorced parents.

  • Diseases.

In general, the appearance of the other personalities is a psychological response that occurs as a way to deal with a conflict. The person develops an identity that represses the memories of the trauma and can help in some way with the situation they are experiencing.

Traumatic events are the trigger for psychological fragmentation and the more intense these are, the intensity of the TDI will be greater.

How does multiple personality affect the life of someone who suffers from it?

Once the appearance of this disorder is identified, the affected person can be impeded in different areas of the development of his life. To begin with, it will be difficult for you to keep a job, since your identity changes may make you forget that you have one.

Interpersonal relationships are also complicated, since when interacting not many will understand their identity changes. Whoever suffers from this evil requires supervision and care, even more so if any of their personalities is violent.

As we already mentioned, suicide is an option that many contemplate, so any patient with this disorder requires immediate attention. It is very likely that they will also experience depression and anxiety because they do not have total control over themselves.

Patients often tend to isolate themselves, so the healthiest thing is to provide them with as much support as possible. Provide a controlled environment and monitor them to prevent changes from getting them into trouble.

treatment for multiple personality

There is no specific treatment to deal with this conflict, each case is unique and may be linked to other psychological disorders. The tool that provides the most help is undoubtedly psychotherapy and this is usually accompanied by medication as the case may be.

Talk therapy will help the patient deal with and accept their traumas, as well as strengthen their mental state to cope with identity changes. There are different types of therapies that are applicable and that professionals develop depending on the case.

The important thing is to go for help immediately if you identify any indication that you are suffering from this evil. Diagnosis is by no means quick, so be sure to contact specialists who spend the right amount of time checking for TDI.

 

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