Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is a mental disorder in which a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personality states. These different identities are referred to as “alters,” and they exist independently of each other, with their own unique way of perceiving the world and themselves.

The alters can range from having separate names and identities to not sharing memories with the host personality. Most people who have this condition experience it after repeated instances of physical or sexual abuse during childhood. DID often results in depression, anxiety disorders, substance addiction, self-harm behaviors such as cutting and eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa because sufferers typically try to avoid painful memories.

Is Dissociative Identity Disorder health threatening?

In some cases, yes. The symptoms of the disorder can make it more difficult for people to protect themselves from harm, and they can find it more frightening when faced with stressful situations.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly called “Multiple Personality Disorder”, is one of a group of diseases called “Dissociative Disorders”. Research has shown that the leading cause of dissociative identity disorder is early childhood abuse. Out of the general population, it is estimated that 1.1% had DID disorder at any given time. Multiple studies have found that the leading cause for DID is trauma from early childhood abuse (psychological, physical, sexual and neglect).

90% of people diagnosed with DID in the US, Canada, and Europe report early childhood trauma which leads to post trauma stress disorder (PTSD) and Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) later on in life.

Why are PTSD and Dissociative Identity Disorder so Connected?

It’s thought that long term trauma is a root cause of dissociative disorders, with dissociation occurring as a coping strategy that allows people to distance themselves from their trauma.

Chronic dissociation becomes a habitual response for reducing the severity of stress in daily life, and therefore serves as a mechanism for avoidance, one of the primary symptoms of PTSD

Source: Differences in trauma history and pathology between PTSD patients with and without co-occurring dissociative disorders -Pascal Wabnitz et al. 2011


More information about Dissociative Identity Disorder

Last Updated on November 19, 2021 by Maya Hall

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I am studying in Florida about Dialectic Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. I'm doing research on Neuro-Emotional Technique (NET), Cognitive psychology, Metacognitive Therapy.

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