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Do you know how to recognize dissociative identity disorder?

Grecia De Flores
4 min read

The brain is composed of a series of mental processes, some of them are memory, thought, attention, consciousness and identity, these work together and communicate with each other to maintain coherence in operation.

In the case of dissociative identity disorder, communication between these systems is interrupted, this phenomenon is known as dissociation, the independence of functioning of a system in relation to the others when they should work together.

Dissociation is also a normal defense mechanism in which it escapes from reality due to how distressing it becomes, in the case of this disorder this mechanism is established within the functioning of people who suffer it involuntarily, so your reality is altered.

What are the symptoms that are generated?

It mainly presents these quite characteristic symptoms:

1. Amnesia

This may include memory gaps in which the person is unable to recall specific events or periods of time, usually from childhood.

Memory failures in which it is not able to remember how to use a specific object or how to perform an activity such as using the cell phone for example.

It could also include discovering objects, photos, or documents that suggest things they have done without knowing how to remember what they have done.

There may be cases where a long period of time has been left blank.

These episodes can appear suddenly and when the person has come to, they can find evidence of things they have done in their home or some other environment without having memories of what they have done or how they have gotten to where they are at the present time.

2. Dissociation

This can be presented in such a way that the difference in personalities is obvious to the rest of the surrounding people, feeling like a possession of that other personality or entity over his own body, it controls all behaviors while in command of the body.

Or it can be presented in a not so obvious way, in this case people have feelings that they observe their own body, not as its owners, they feel a kind of disconnection with themselves and with their actions.

When dissociation occurs, the person can feel how they observe the behavior of someone who controls their body as if they were behind the scenes and could not control themselves.

The different personalities can communicate with each other inside the head, which causes these people to hear other voices speaking within themselves or speaking directly to them and giving opinions about their actions.

The personalities may or may not be aware of the existence of the others, and amnesia may or may not occur each time one of these personalities takes control of the body.

The formerly called multiple personality disorder, presents symptoms that are not so easy to detect and differentiate from other mental disorders such as schizophrenia, making it a complex diagnosis.

Do you know how to recognize dissociative identity disorder?
Multiple personality disorder

Causes and risk factors

This disorder is caused by one or more traumatic events generally experienced in childhood, when children are young they are integrating all the content of the world and of themselves to consolidate their identity, exposure to traumatic events can cause this process not to take place and elements are dissociated.

Traumas can be physical, sexual, emotional abuse, the loss of a significant figure, or some frightening and unpredictable extreme circumstances.

In general, the closer are the figures that have caused such abuse or of which a loss has occurred and the more unprotected the child is before these situations, the more likely it is to develop this disorder.

These destabilizing events that are very difficult to deal with can result in the use of the dissociation mechanism and the perpetuation of these traumatic conditions brings the generalization of this mechanism to other areas of life, which results from a generalized dissociation.

How is the treatment?

Treatment for multiple personality disorder or currently called dissociative personality disorder consists essentially of psychotherapy.

In general, the efforts of this are to bring the different personalities to integration, so that the person can reintegrate all those parts and be a united whole.

However, there are cases in which this is not possible, so it is sought to work with the different personalities to achieve their collaboration and to be able to have a normal development in daily life.

If treated, this disorder can have a good prognosis in which people are functional.