Dissociative Identity Disorder

1290 Words6 Pages
Dissociative Identity Disorder, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM-IV-TR), is “characterized by the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states that recurrently take control of the individual’s behavior accompanied by an inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. It is a disorder characterized by identity fragmentation rather than a proliferation of separate personalities.”

To qualify as dissociative identity disorder, also known as D.I.D., at least two personalities must routinely take alternate control of the individual's behavior, and there must be a loss of memory that goes beyond normal forgetfulness. This memory loss is often referred to as "losing time". These symptoms must occur independently of substance abuse or a general medical condition. “Dissociative identity disorder is a rare diagnosis, although people currently with a diagnosis of psychosis may in fact be experiencing what is associated with the disorder. Because of the rarity of the diagnosis, there is much misunderstanding and ignorance among people and mental health professionals. Special attention is given to the reality of coping with the difficulties that dissociative identity disorder creates.”

D.I.D. has been mistaken quite frequently for schizophrenia (also called dementia praecox). Other misdiagnoses include borderline personality disorder, somatization disorder, and panic disorder, and can take 6-7 years, on average, from the first sign to the diagnosis. D.I.D. patients are often frightened by their dissociative experiences and may go to emergency rooms or clinics because they fear they are ...

... middle of paper ...

... an adjunct to psychotherapy and/or medication. These include hydrotherapy, herbal medicine, therapeutic massage, and yoga. Meditation is usually discouraged until the patient's personality has been reintegrated. Treatment of D.I.D. is complex. Patients are often treated under a variety of other psychiatric diagnoses for a long time before being re-diagnosed with D.I.D. Many patients are misdiagnosed as depressed because their primary personality is subdued and withdrawn.

The outlook for people with D.I.D. is usually very good, if they stick with the therapy that works for them. Some therapists believe that the prognosis for recovery is excellent for children and good for most adults. Although treatment takes years, it is often ultimately effective. As a general rule, the earlier the patient is diagnosed and properly treated, the better the chances for improvement.

More about Dissociative Identity Disorder

Open Document