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Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real? Split Personality Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Most people in the USA may suffer from dissociative identity disorder (DID), which is a mental health condition. If a person is living with this health condition, he/she may have distinct personalities. This also means that a person has two or more separate personalities that control his/her behavior, memories, feelings, thoughts, surroundings, and identity at different intervals.

According to an epidemiological study, it is believed that DID can affect 1.5% of the population around the world. This psychiatric disorder, though rare, is diagnosed in women as compared to men. This mental health condition can cause the problem of memory loss, depression or delusions, and other health problems.

In this blog, we will provide you with a brief understanding of dissociative identity disorder, its types, causes, symptoms, other mental health conditions, and treatment in patients.

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is commonly known by two names, one is “multiple personality disorder” and another is “split personality disorder”. It is a complex psychological health condition that includes a response to traumatic conditions like stress or trauma in early childhood. This multi-disorder controls the behavior of distinct personalities or identities. Each separate identity (alter) has its traits, history, likes, and dislikes.

Dissociative disorder can include several disorders that can affect the ability of a person to connect with reality. It helps traumatized patients avoid their bad memories through medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy).

Dissociative Identity Disorder Types:

Three dissociative disorders may occur in patients, which are as follows:

Dissociative Identity Disorder

This disorder was previously known as multiple personality disorder. In this disorder, a person may feel that he/she is surrounded by some identities. Also, he/she may feel that two or more persons are talking with him/her or living inside his/her head.

As we discussed above, DID involves two or more personalities or identities. These identities differ in their names, history, and features. It may affect the brain and heart, and the person may have difficulty in managing everyday work.

Dissociative Amnesia

It is a type of dissociative disorder or problem in which a person is unable to recall his/her personal significant information. Also, a person would not lose his/her common thinking. In this disorder, a person may experience the problem of memory loss, which is more severe than normal forgetfulness. It can cause stress or trauma.

When patients recover from these situations, there are chances of getting their memory back and living a normal and happy life. It may last in a patient’s body for some minutes, hours, months, or years.

Depersonalized or Derealization Disorder

In this disorder, a person may experience a feeling of detachment from himself/herself. A person may not imagine the real world or see himself/herself from his/her body’s outside, not inside.

The feelings of this disorder are very dangerous and disturbed. A person may also feel that he/she is living in a dream. The symptoms of depersonalized or derealization disorder are very severe and may last for hours, days, weeks, or months.

What Causes Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative identity disorder is caused by experiencing severe trauma or stress for a longer duration in early childhood. During childhood, he/she may suffer from extreme emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

In childhood, individuals may sometimes develop a psychological response to traumatic and stressful conditions such as stress or trauma. This disorder helps to detach from past trauma, as it may cause memory loss, hallucinations, delusions, or depression. Three main factors can cause dissociative disorders, like repeating physical or sexual abuse during childhood, emotional abuse, or neglect patients. People who have experienced both physical and sexual abuse in their childhood are at a high risk of having dissociative identity disorder symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of DID?

The symptoms of dissociative identity disorder may depend on the person who experiences it. The DID symptoms are as follows:

  • Depression
  • Memory Loss (amnesia)
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Disorientation
  • Headache
  • Severe stress
  • Blurred identities
  • Derealization
  • Substance use disorder

What are the Other Mental Health Conditions Occurring with DID Symptoms?

People with DID may suffer from numerous psychiatric problems. Several health conditions can occur with dissociative identity disorder. These are as follows:

  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia (sleep disorder)
  • Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge-eating disorder)
  • Panic attacks
  • Phobia
  • Psychosis
  • Sleepwalking (somnambulism)
  • Suicidal tendencies or suicidal idealization
  • Night terrors
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder(OCD)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Body image distortion
  • Mental distress
  • Seizures

How To Deal With Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Although there is no cure for dissociative disorders, yet, long-term treatments help treat patients. An individual may take personal, group, or family therapy for treating such disorders.

One of the most effective treatments for dissociative identity disorder is psychotherapy or talk therapy. However, various medications may help to manage the symptoms of this disorder. In addition, other therapies help the patients to get rid of their past traumatic experiences. These therapies also help people to gain control of DID symptoms, which are listed below:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

To manage DID symptoms like anxiety, depression, etc., one must consult with a psychiatrist or a psychologist for effective treatment. The doctor may prescribe some anti-anxiety medication like Xanax (Alprazolam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Klonopin (Clonazepam), and Valium.


Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a complex condition that can greatly impact the lives of individuals who experience past traumatic or stressful events.

Proper and effective treatment of DID may significantly improve the individual’s quality of life. It may also help overcome the health-related problems from such disorders, which are usually caused by past trauma in patients.

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