Individuals who suffer from dissociative disorder, otherwise known as multiple personality disorder, may inhibit two or more identities or personality states. As told by the American Psychiatric Association, this disorder reflects a failure to integrate various aspects of one’s identity, memory, consciousness, perception, behavior, and emotion into one’s multidimensional being.

Many people with dissociative disorder were physically or sexually abused as a child, and in response to that, the child disconnected from what was happening, almost as if they were watching a show. This serves as a defense mechanism for them to detach from the traumatic experience. Disassociation blocks off thoughts and emotions from the child, often becoming unaware by them. Although not all children who are abused suffer from this disorder, those that have been abused multiple times may develop thoughts and emotions in separate areas of their lives, as if each cluster of thoughts and feelings were a person in and of themselves.

Scientifically, researchers presume that when a child experiences a traumatic event, the brain’s neurochemicals may be released in such large amounts that they impact the area of the brain that controls memory. When this happens, a person’s memory may be broken up into separate “compartments” in the mind. When these pieces of memory are compartmentalized, they form as separate entities within the person’s mind.

Typically, a person who suffers from dissociative disorder has a primary identity that they associate with their given name and is often depressed, guilty, passive, and very dependent. Other personalities may take control and each may have a distinct history and identity. General knowledge, moods, age, gender, and vocabulary are often taken on differently by each personality inhibited. Certain stressors or triggers may cause a certain personality to emerge.

There are a lot of physiological, psychological and environmental influencers involved in individuals who suffer from dissociative, or multiple personality, disorder. Neurotransmitters in the brain could block memory, and traumatic events may cause a person to enact a form of self-hypnosis to deal with the painful physical and emotional responses of the body.

If someone feels that they may suffer from this disorder, seeking help and additional information from a health care professional is a crucial step to take. There are many resources available, including medication and psychotherapy to help a person recover. Dissociative disorder affects nearly every aspect of a person’s life, and with proper support and care, a person can be on their way to living happier and healthier.


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