Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is a complicated psychological condition in which the sufferer has two or more different personalities, and alternately takes the consciousness of the individual who experiences it.
Some of us often experience dissociation, aka a situation where we get carried away, daydreaming, when we are daydreaming or while working. Dissociative identity disorder is a more severe form of dissociation, resulting in a person losing control of his mind, memory, feelings, actions, and awareness of his identity. These different identities usually also have different names, different temperaments, even self-images that are also different.
What causes multiple personality disorders?
There is no definitive explanation for why a person can suffer from dissociative identity disorder. Although there are many factors involved in this disease, sufferers of dissociative identity disorder usually have a background of traumatic experiences, especially during their childhood. This traumatic experience can take the form of repeated torture both emotionally, physical violence, and sexual abuse. Because of this experience, someone then seems to create a self-defense mechanism by creating another personality outside his consciousness so that he is free from the great trauma he experiences.
Symptoms of dissociative identity disorder aka multiple personalities
- The main characteristic of multiple personality disorders is the appearance of two or more different personalities that take turns taking over or controlling oneself.
- Each of these personalities has a name, mindset, habits, speaking style, physical characteristics, even different writing styles.
- Signs such as depression, excessive anxiety, often feeling guilty, can aggressively arise. Audio and visual hallucinations may also occur. During childhood, people with dissociative identity disorder also had a tendency to have behavioral problems and difficulties focusing on school.
- Mood swings, panic attacks, phobias, eating disorders, sleep disorders (such as insomnia and sleepwalking), excessive headaches, and erectile dysfunction also usually accompany dissociative identity disorder.
- Problems with memory are also often encountered, especially memories related to current and past events, people involved, places, to time. Each personality in one person may have a different memory. When a passive personality is taking over, memories that appear are usually vague or even contrary to the original event. While more dominant or protective personalities have more complete memories of an event. So that not infrequently the sufferer does not remember why he is at a certain time and place.
- Each personality usually appears because there is a trigger. When one personality takes over, this dominant personality may overlook another personality or even experience its own conflict. Transitions from one personality to another personality are usually triggered by psychosocial stress.
What is the difference between dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder?
Having more or less the same characteristics and symptoms, dissociative identity disorder is often misinterpreted as bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a change in mood, energy, and unusual activities. This disorder is also called manic-depressive illness, where the sufferer will experience two phases namely manic and depressive. The manic phase occurs when people feel they have a lot of energy, are enthusiastic, and are more active than usual to cause trouble sleeping, talk very fast, feel capable of doing things at one time, and tend to do risky things. While the depressive phase is the opposite of the manic phase. These two phases are very different and the differences between them tend to be intense and drastic.
The main difference between bipolar disorder and dissociative identity disorder is the cause. In dissociative identity disorder, past trauma tends to be the main trigger of the disorder. While in bipolar disorder, brain structure, genetics, and offspring play more roles. Changes between one personality and another personality in dissociative identity disorder are more often triggered by psychosocial stress, while in bipolar disorder there is a clearer pattern. For example the manic phase occurs for one week followed by a depressive phase for 2 weeks.
Therapy for patients with dissociative identity disorder
Treatment for patients with dissociative identity disorder can last for years. Some types of therapy are recommended for patients with dissociative identity disorder, namely:
- Psychotherapy : in adults, psychotherapy can last for five to seven years. The main goal of therapy is to 'unite' some of the existing personalities into one whole personality. Psychotherapy also helps sufferers deal with trauma that triggers the emergence of other personalities. The stages carried out usually study what personality arises, overcome trauma, and unite several existing personalities into one.
- Family therapy : done to give more explanation to families regarding dissociative identity disorder. Inform the family, what changes will occur and observe the signs or symptoms of personality changes.
- Treatment : although there is no specific medication that can cure dissociative identity disorder, but the symptoms that appear such as excessive anxiety and depression can be overcome with antidepressants.
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