What Is a Split Personality?

By james
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One of the great things about meeting different people is that there are so many different types of personalities. You will often find yourself in groups of numerous people, all with different personalities, and these different personalities will often complement each other very well.

While individuals can change their behavior according to their mood, and other factors, that mood will still be a part of the same personality. Some people, however, will have more than one personality, with each of their personalities being very different from their other ones. This condition is often known as a split personality, and it can have a profound impact on the patient’s life.

Split Personality

1. Split Personality

A split personality is known more formally as dissociative identity disorder. The condition basically means that the patient will have more than one personality. Each personality will have different characteristics, such as age, ethnicity, and even gender. In some cases, the alternative personalities, which are known as alters, can even be animals.

Alters will tend to ‘take over’, which is known as switching, from the primary character when the patient is exposed to certain triggers. The new character can then remain in control ranging from a few seconds to days at a time. The different characters will sometimes be critical or praising of one another, while they might sometimes deny all knowledge that other characters exist.

Split Personality

2. Causes

Little is known why or how people develop split personality disorder. However, it is more common in people that have experienced some form of severe abuse as a child. Other types of severe trauma are also linked with the condition. Indeed, around 90% of all cases are thought to be linked with trauma of some sort.

Studies have also suggested that there is a genetic link to somebody developing a split personality. It can also appear in people of any age. It is thought that the development of different personalities is a form of coping mechanism that helps people to disconnect themselves from past experiences.

Split Personality

3. Symptoms

In addition to having additional personalities, the condition can also cause the patient to experience some other symptoms. Headaches are another potential symptom, while the patient will also sometimes experience hallucinations including sight, sound, and smell. Mood swings are also a potential symptom of the condition, and patients are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

The condition can also cause the patient to experience disturbances in their sleep patterns, meaning they are likely to be feeling tired a lot of the time. People with a split personality will also tend to experience sexual dysfunction. Many will also start showing behaviors that are uncharacteristic for them.

Split Personality

4. Amnesia

People with a split personality will also sometimes experience memory loss. This can mean forgetting certain facts about past events they attended, and places they have visited. They can also forget certain people, even people that they are close to. They can even begin to forget facts about themselves.

They can forget key information about themselves such as where they live, where they work, what their name is, and even who they are. The patient might also sometimes forget the topic of a discussion that has not even finished yet. Amnesia can also mean the patient has difficulty forming new memories.

Split Personality

5. Depersonalization

Depersonalization is described by some patients as though they are having an out of body experience. The patient feels as though instead of being in their body experiencing life as it goes by, they are instead outside of their body, watching in on what is happening to them from afar.

Patients with a split personality will also sometimes experience derealization. This is the sensation that everything around them does not look real to them, even including the people that are around them at the time. The sensation is also sometimes described as though everything is far away, or that everything is foggy.

Split Personality

6. Identity Confusion

Identity confusion, which is a condition that’s also known as identity alteration, is a condition where the patient experiencing a sense of confusion about who they are. The patient can have difficulty explaining things about themselves to other people. For example, what is their sexuality? Are they religious and what is their political affiliation, if any? What are their hobbies and interests?

A patient with a split personality will also sometimes experience the sensation that they are in a different place and even a different time. They might also experience the sensation that they are living a different experience to the one they are really experiencing.

Split Personality

7. Complications

The symptoms of a split personality can make life very difficult for people with the condition. It can affect every aspect of their lives and many will struggle to maintain jobs and relationships. The condition can also lead patients to display some behaviors that can be extremely harmful to others.

Self-harm is not uncommon in patients with a split personality. Depression is another symptom that the condition can cause, alongside a number of other mental health disorders. Some people with the condition will have suicidal thoughts, and around 70% of patients with the condition have attempted to take their own lives.

Split Personality

8. Who’s At Risk

As mentioned, there is a link between a split personality and people that have endured traumatic experiences in the past. Those most at risk of developing the condition tend to be those who experienced trauma at a very young age, particularly those that were under 6 years old at the time.

This does not mean that all people that had such traumas will develop a split personality, however. Also, not everybody that has the condition will have suffered traumas at a young age, or even at all. There is also a connection between split personality disorder and some other mental health disorders.

Split Personality

9. Diagnosis

It will be important that the doctor exams the patient first to help ensure that there are no underlying medical causes for the patient’s symptoms. They will also likely ask more about the patient’s symptoms, and also about their medical history. If a mental health condition is suspected, the patient will need to be referred to a psychologist for further evaluation.

The psychologist will also likely want to ask the patient about their childhood, and if they have experienced traumatic experiences in their life. If they are satisfied that you have the symptoms of split personality then they will be in a position to make a diagnosis.

Split Personality

10. Treatment

There is no medication available that can help to treat a split personality. However, medication is available that can help to treat other mental health conditions that the patient might also be suffering from. This includes medication to help deal with anxiety and depression.

The patient will also need psychotherapy sessions with an expert. These sessions will help the patient to understand their condition better and help them to manage their symptoms. The sessions can be very effective in helping the patient to manage their condition as best as possible, and this can help them to lead relatively normal lives.

Split Personality

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