What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

By brett
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Dissociative identity disorder is a psychiatric condition in which a person exhibits two or more distinct identities. He or she may or may not be aware that more than one identity exists. Previous editions of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” referred to the condition as multiple personality disorder, but the name was changed to dissociative identity disorder in 1994.

Symptoms usually begin in response to a severely traumatic experience that, for most patients occurred, during childhood. Examples include sexual abuse, violence, neglect, torture, or kidnapping. The 10 facts that follow will answer the question of “what is dissociative identity disorder?” as well discuss how it is diagnosed and treated.

1. Dissociative Disorders

The word dissociative refers to something that disconnects or separates. Thus, dissociative episodes are periods when a person feels separated from his or her own personality or sense of self. These occurrences are perfectly natural, and up to three-fourths of people mildly dissociate when doing things like reading, driving, or watching a performance. In times of severe stress, dissociation from reality serves the purpose of protecting the mind from otherwise unbearable pain or trauma.

When dissociative events interfere with a person’s daily life, they become disorders. There are three main types of these more serious conditions: dissociative amnesia, depersonalization disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. Dissociative amnesia causes a person to forget important aspects of his or her life. With depersonalization disorder, people feel detached from their lives, as if they are watching themselves on television. Dissociative identity disorder occurs when people become separated from their own identities and manifest different personalities.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

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