Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity disorder is a type of disorder that generates a disconnection in the personality of the individual. It was previously known as "multiple personality disorder." It is an alteration of the person's sense of identity, which makes them feel like an experience of separation or feeling of being outside themselves and of loss of memory or amnesia. Dissociative disorders are frequently associated with traumatic experiences.


  • 1 Signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder
  • 2 What makes a person have a dissociative identity?
  • 3 Treatment of dissociative identity disorder

Signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder

A person with identity disorder or dissociative personality can go through drastic changes in behavior, appearance and speech patterns from one personality to another. You may not remember what you have done for long periods of time, or what happened when you were in a different "identity."

The person changes from identity to identity, or feels the presence of two or more people living inside his head. Each identity can have its own name and characteristics such as gender, voice, way of expressing oneself, moving, etc. Often, each identity emerges to play a particular role, such as dealing with anger or fear.

The symptoms include

  • The existence of two or more different identities (or "personality states"). Different identities are accompanied by changes in behavior, memory and thinking. Signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual himself.
  • Continuous gaps in memory about everyday events, personal information and / or past traumatic events.
  • Symptoms cause significant problems or difficulties in the personal, social, work or other areas of operation.

Main features

An identity alteration appears when, as we have said, the person has two or more different personality states, this in some cultures or religions is known as "possession" by a spirit or entity.

The change in identity entails altered behaviors, emotions, thoughts, memories and different perceptions, and these can be observed by others or informed by the individual himself.

What makes a person have a dissociative identity?

The main cause of dissociative identity disorder is a severe and repeated trauma in childhood, which often begins before the age of 5. This may include verbal, physical or sexual abuse, or gross negligence.

The diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder is controversial, and some experts even debate whether it exists. Unfortunately, suicide attempts and other self-injurious behaviors are common among people with dissociative identity disorder. It is known that up to 70% of patients with this disorder have attempted suicide.

Treatment of dissociative identity disorder

The main form of treatment for dissociative identity disorder is long-term psychotherapy. This usually involves frequent and regular sessions with a therapist for several years.

Many people with dissociative identity disorder will also have other mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression. There is no specific medication for dissociative identity disorder, although these other mental health disorders are often treated with specific psychoactive drugs.


McHugh PR. Multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder). March 2009; Available at //

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