Multiple personality disorder – Definition

 

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment.

Dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personality disorder (MPD), is a psychiatric disorder described for the first time in North America in the 1980s. Patients suffering this disorder show different personality alternations (or different states of personality), and can switch from one to the other without being able to control it (e.g.  an adult woman can suddenly speak and behave as a five year old girl, using a childish voice, and then « become » a fifty year old man, and so on)…

There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the topic of DID. The validity of DID as a medical diagnosis has been questioned, and some researchers have suggested that DID may exist primarily as an iatrogenic adverse effect of therapy. DID is diagnosed significantly more frequently in North America compared to other areas of the world.

 

Signs and symptoms

Individuals diagnosed with DID demonstrate a variety of symptoms with wide fluctuations across time; functioning can vary from severe impairment in daily functioning to normal or high abilities. Symptoms can include:

  • Multiple mannerisms, attitudes and beliefs which are not similar to each other
  • Unexplainable headaches and other body pains
  • Distortion or loss of subjective time
  • Comorbidity
  • Depersonalization
  • Derealization
  • Severe memory loss
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks of abuse/trauma
  • Sudden anger without a justified cause
  • Frequent panic/anxiety attacks
  • Unexplainable phobias
  • Auditory of the personalities inside their mind
  • Paranoia

Patients may experience an extremely broad array of other symptoms that may appear to resemble epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, post traumatic stress disorder, personality disorders, and eating disorders.

 

Causes

This disorder is theoretically linked with the interaction of overwhelming stress, traumatic antecedents, insufficient childhood nurturing, and an innate ability to dissociate memories or experiences from consciousness. A high percentage of patients report child abuse. People diagnosed with DID often report that they have experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during early to mid childhood. Several psychiatric rating scales of DID sufferers suggested that DID is strongly related to childhood trauma rather than to an underlying electrophysiological dysfunction.

Others believe that the symptoms of DID are created iatrogenically by therapists using certain treatment techniques with suggestible patients, but this idea is not universally accepted. Skeptics have observed that a small number of US therapists were responsible for diagnosing the majority of individuals with DID there, that patients did not report sexual abuse or manifest alters until after treatment had begun, and that the « alters » tended to be rule-governed social roles rather than separate personalities.

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~ par momoges sur avril 11, 2011.

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