Karen L. Nelson
November 27, 2013 CCMH/544
Disorder of Your Choice Paper: Dissociative Identity Disorder
It has been questioned, “Does dissociative identity disorder really exist?” This question is being asked in courtrooms, hospitals and professional offices, the question posed by the general population and by the most highly regarded experts across the world. Understanding the design of a mental illness, which develops multiple personalities, is not only challenging, but also nearly impossible, especially when you could be treating over 100 personalities at one time. However, researchers have evidence that prove that dissociative identity disorder (DID) exist in .01% to 1% of the population. Previously labeled “multiple personality disorder”, now named DID, has been discovered to be an effect of brutal, early childhood trauma which could include severe sexual, physical or emotional abuse, usually repetitive (WebMD, 2013). In this paper, I will try to provide with you with a better understanding of the disorder, symptomology, diagnosis procedures and treatment.
Dissociative Identity Disorder DID is categorized in the DSM-IV with dissociative disorders, classifying the illness along side of dissociative amnesia, depersonalization disorder, and dissociative fugue. These disorders are much milder than DID and include symptomology such as daydreams or getting lost in the moment. While many can claim mild dissociation DID rather, is an extreme form of dissociation, caused by the mind disconnecting a person's emotions, thoughts, actions, memories, and sense of identity. DID, has been deemed a coping mechanism, the thought is that it develops to protect the client from the traumatic and painful events of their childhood experiences (WebMD, 2013).
Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder DID is described by the client having two or more distinctive identities or defined personalities that continually take over the client's actions. Black outs or time loss are also key symptoms with DID, as the client will not have any recall ability in regards to personal childhood or far reaching key information (often time disregarded as forgetfulness). DID is interesting because the memories of the client will fluctuate from one personality to another. The various personalities, referred to as “alters” have different ages, sex, race, may speak different languages or varying accents and their own way of gesturing and posturing. “Alters” have even been discovered to be imaginary people or animals (WebMD, 2013). When one alter takes over from another it is called “switching”, depending on the emotional situation and severity of DID switching can happen for as long as days, weeks or as quick as minutes to seconds. Often during hypnotic sessions various “alters” will appear and interact with a therapist. Some of the “alters” are aware of each other, while others are left in the dark about the illness. There are often additional symptoms that the client and split or multiple personalities may experience:
Anxiety, phobias and panic attacks (usually a reaction to flashbacks or "triggers")
Drug and alcohol use/abuse
Psychosis or auditory and visual hallucinations
Ritualistic behaviors or compulsions
Sleep walking, insomnia, and night terrors
Time loss Trances
The symptoms may appear in one alter and not in another, for example one alter may be a female suffer from anorexia while another may a male who over eats. Some patients suffering from DID or some alters will self-persecute, and often can be violent towards others or self. Often times one “alter” may awake or switch and observe another “alter” doing something dangerous that they would never do, such as drunk