Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, is said to be a complex, psychological condition which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, feelings, memories, actions, or sense of identity. This disorder is thought to stem from many factors, including childhood trauma. This disorder may derive from a coping mechanism that was used to psychologically remove oneself from a traumatic event – an event that was too violent, painful, or traumatic to assimilate with the conscious self. Understanding DID could lead you to receive a diagnosis for yourself or could help someone else if they are experiencing similar symptoms.
The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) has noted several symptoms of DID:
- Inability to remember substantial portions of childhood
- Unexplained events and inability to be aware of them (such as seeing new clothes and not remembering how they got there)
- Frequent bouts of memory loss or “lost time”
- Sudden flashbacks to traumatic events
- Episodes of feeling detached from one’s body
- Experiencing hallucinations, such as voices talking to you or inside your head
- Suicide attempts or self-harm
- “Out of body” experiences
- Having different handwriting from time to time
- Changing levels of functioning, from being highly functional to being nearly disabled
People with DID may also experience mood swings, depression, eating disorders, unexplained sleeping problems, severe headaches, sexual dysfunction and more. Substance abuse, phobic anxiety and somatization are also possible occurrences, according to Healthy Place. Previous researchers have found that individuals with DID have 19.2% smaller hippocampal and 31.6% smaller amygdala volume than those without the disorder. This difference in brain functions result from childhood trauma and can explain the symptoms experienced with DID.
Treatment for DID often involves psychotherapy, a form of talk therapy in which a client can work one-on-one with a therapist to learn more about their disorder and tools to manage the symptoms of it. Family therapy can be beneficial to provide information to family members of the loved one with DID, so that everyone can recognize the symptoms and learn to work with their loved one. Medications to help bring clarity and relax anxiety may be used while a person is in therapy so they can effectively work through their concerns.
If you have been diagnosed with DID and are ready to begin your journey to recovery, call us at New Vista Behavioral Health today. Our home-like, client-focused centers include licensed, experienced health care professionals who are ready to be there for you every step of the way. We believe in holistic, integrative treatment – meaning that we will personalize your treatment plan to ensure your overall well-being. Take that first step by calling today at 844-406-1239.