Dissociative identity disorder

Dissociative identity disorder , also known as multiple personality disorder is a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states. There is often trouble remembering some events , beyond what would be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. A individual with dissociative identity disorder has two or more different and district personalities , the person’s regular personality are called alternate personalities. The individual can experience amnesia when an alter takes control over the person’s behavior. Each alter has distinct individual traits , personal history , and a way of thinking. The individual with the disorder may or may not be aware of the other personality states and memories of the times when an alter is dominant. Stress, or even a reminder of a trauma, can trigger a switch of alters. The “alters” or different identities have their own age, sex, or race. Each has his or her own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking. Sometimes the alters are imaginary people and they can even be animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individuals’ behavior and thoughts, it’s called “switching.” Switching can take seconds to minutes to days. When under hypnosis, the person’s different “alters” or identities may be very responsive to the therapist’s requests.Some believe that because DID patients are easily hypnotized, their symptoms are iatrogenic, meaning they have arisen in response to therapists’ suggestions. Brain imaging studies, however, have corroborated identity transitions in some patients. Individuals who is suffering from DID usually have a main personality that psychiatrists refer to as the “host.” This is generally not the person’s original personality, but is rather one developed in response to childhood trauma. It is usually this personality that seeks psychiatric help. DID patients are often frightened by their dissociative experiences, which can include losing awareness of hours or even days, meeting people who claim to know them by another name, or feeling “out of body.” It’ll just be like speaking to a new person.
Psychiatrists refer to the phase of transition between alters as the “switch.” After a switch, people assume whole new physical postures, voices, and vocabularies. Specific circumstances or stressful situations may bring out particular identities. Some patients have histories of erratic performance in school or in their jobs caused by the emergence of alternate personalities during examinations or other stressful situations. Each alternate identity takes control one at a time, denying control to the others. Patients vary with regard to their alters’ awareness of one another. One alter may not acknowledge the existence of others or it may criticize other alters. At times during therapy, one alter may allow another to take control. The primary cause of DID appears to be severe and prolonged trauma experienced during childhood. This trauma can be associated with emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or some combination. One theory is that young children, faced with a routine of torture, sexual abuse or neglect , dissociate themselves from their trauma by creating separate identities or personality states. A manufactured alter may suffer while the primary identity “escapes” the unbearable experience. Dissociation, which is easy for a young child to achieve, thus becomes a useful defense. This strategy displaces the suffering onto another identity. Over time, the child, who on average is around six years old at the time of the appearance of the first alter, may create many more.
Many experts in memory research say that it is nearly impossible for anyone to remember things that happened before the age three, the age when some DID patients supposedly experience abuse, but the brain’s storage, retrieval, and interpretation of childhood memories are still not fully understood. The relationship of dissociative disorders to childhood abuse has led to intense controversy and lawsuits concerning the accuracy of childhood memories. Because childhood trauma is a factor in the development of DID, some doctors think it may be a variation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In both DID and PTSD, dissociation is a prominent mechanism.
The history of DID goes a long way . DID was focused on for study between 1880 and 1920 and in 1944, 67% of all known cases had been reported during that time. Case reports of dissociative identity disorder then fell off dramatically perhaps due to the increased diagnosis of schizophrenia and due to the rise of Freud.In the 1970s, the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder rose dramatically after the publication of the extremely popular book, Sybil, in 1973 (Dissociative Identity Disorder: I’m Not Sybil). In the 1970s alone, it is thought that more cases of DID were reported than in all of history since 1816 and the famous case of Mary Reynolds. Between 1991 and 1997, over 500 cases of DID were admitted to a single dissociative disorders treatment center in Dallas, Texas.
The first case of DID was thought to be described by Paracelsus in 1646. In the 19th century, “dédoublement” or double consciousness, the historical precursor to DID, was frequently described as a state of sleepwalking, with scholars hypothesizing that the patients were switching between a normal consciousness and a “somnambulistic state”.
An intense interest in spiritualism, parapsychology, and hypnosis continued throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, running in parallel with John Locke’s views that there was an association of ideas requiring the coexistence of feelings with awareness of the feelings. Hypnosis, which was pioneered in the late 18th century by Franz Mesmer and Armand-Marie Jacques de Chastenet, Marques de Puységur, challenged Locke’s association of ideas. Hypnotists reported what they thought were second personalities emerging during hypnosis and wondered how two minds could coexist. The 19th century saw a number of reported cases of multiple personalities which Rieber estimated would be close to 100. Epilepsy was seen as a factor in some cases, and discussion of this connection continues into the present era.
By the late 19th century, there was a general acceptance that emotionally traumatic experiences could cause long-term disorders which might display a variety of symptoms. These conversion disorders were found to occur in even the most resilient individuals, but with profound effect in someone with emotional instability like Louis Vivet (1863-?) who suffered a traumatic experience as a 13-year-old when he encountered a viper. Vivet was the subject of countless medical papers and became the most studied case of dissociation in the 19th century.
Additionally, as more and more cases of DID were reported, more and more alternate personalities (alters) were reported in each case. The majority of cases noted by 1944 manifested with only two personalities, while there was an average of 15.7 alters noted in cases reported/ in 1997. In current day, controversy still rages around DID, its diagnosis and whether the disorder even exists.