Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a rare mental disorder that occurs at any age. A person with DID develops alternate personalities. Changing its name from multiple personality disorder reflected a better understanding of the condition. The person affected by this disorder may be aware or unaware of the changes happening to him or her.
DID is part of a larger group of mental disorders referred to as dissociative disorders. These disorders typically mess up or break down a person’s memory, understanding of oneself, or consciousness of the things around them.
People with DID often struggle with their social life. They usually become unaware or confused about the events that take place around them. Other people lose their memory of events. DID makes it difficult for most people with this condition to carry out daily tasks.
Some of the struggles people with this condition face include the following:
- They become incapable of organizing their daily activities.
- They would prefer to remain isolated from everyone else.
- They lose their sense of self and identity, contributing to feeling broken.
- They believe that a different entity controls their lives.
- They have gaps in their memories.
The struggles listed above are difficult to overcome. Some stories of those who deal with the disorder include feeling, seeing, and understanding the world with different perceptions. They would often turn into their other selves, and these would often take up a different name, personality, interest, and character. The experience is like knowing two or more very different people sharing a single body. Usually, it is difficult for those with this condition to maintain relationships with their partners, friends, and colleagues.
The best way to treat a disorder is to prevent it. However, for DID, the cause is yet to be positively established. Some have reported it comes from physical and sexual abuse, especially during the patient’s childhood. Other events, such as accidents, war, and natural disasters, also have a connection to this disorder. Other studies have also linked DID with early losses such as those of a close relative. DID may frequently occur among young children who are still starting to develop their sense of self.
You also need to learn what Rebecca Frank MA, LPCC, NCC has to say about this: “When we can start linking the triggers to the emotions we can control our situations a little better.”
The Risks And Challenges
Individuals with this disorder often risk exposing themselves to the following activities:
- They turn to abuse of substances such as alcohol, drugs, or tobacco.
- They develop anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.
- They struggle with sexual functions.
- They start to experience headaches or pains in most parts of their bodies.
- They engage in self-injurious activities.
- They develop suicidal tendencies.
Erin Pawlak, MS, LPCC said “Having suicidal thoughts is difficult but manageable.” According to Arvin, LPCC, “Suicide is the second leading cause of death nationwide among those aged 18-24.”
In treating DID, most therapists engage their patients in groups to help them foster better relationships with other people. They often use psychotherapy as the main component for treatment. Some also consider the use of dialectical behavior therapy, which involves emphasis on mindfulness and helps better soothe the patients. Medication mainly helps control the development of other mental illnesses, such as depression or anxiety.
Dissociative identity disorder is a difficult mental disorder to understand and overcome. Make sure to watch out and take care of your loved ones suffering from this condition. If your loved one is suffering from this disorder, remember to extend your patience at all times. According to Andrew Rose, LPC, MA, “People need to feel secure in their relationship to get the value of coupling. Security is built through rupture and repair.”