You Should Know about
The Basics, The Myths and The Truth
Dissociative Identity Disorder, or DID,
is a severe form of dissociation that disconnects a
person from their thoughts, memories, actions and
sense of identity.
This form of dissociation is common associated with trauma, as the
disorder is thought to stem from a victim’s need for escape from their
trauma and pain.
Myth: DID isn’t real
The common iteration of DID that involves multiple personalities is often
exaggerated in media and many stereotypes exist regarding the disorder.
This leads many to believe that the disorder is simple someone making up an
illness for whatever reason.
Surprisingly, this isn’t just a problem among laymen – medical and psychiatric
professionals are still divided on the validity of DID, or that it is a misdiagnosis
of another psychological problem.
As it stands now, however, DID is real
and many people suffer from dissociations.
Symptoms Related to DID
One of the biggest symptoms related to DID
• is the existence of split personalities or more than one personality in one
host person. Usually there is the main personality, the original person, and
one or more separate personalities that are created. These separate
personalities are often called “alters.”
• Regardless of the host’s gender, sex, sexuality, race, personality and values,
the alters created within the host may differ wildly in all aspects.
Symptoms Related to DID Cont
While multiple personalities is the main defining
symptom of DID, there are many other
symptoms that can be found in those with this
These symptoms can include:
• mood swings,
• suicidal thoughts and attempts,
• panic attacks,
• time loss,
• eating disorders,
• psychotic-like symptoms,
• and sleep disorders.
The diagnosis of DID involves a psychologist
consulting the DSM-5 and going off of their
professional criteria for diagnosing the disorder.
This criteria includes
• two or more distinct
personalities being present,
• amnesia occurring within the
• distress based on the
• disturbance in everyday life
and no other outside
influences being the cause
of the condition (like
alcohol intake or seizure
DID and Schizophrenia are the same thing
This is definitely a myth.
DID involves multiple personalities, while those with
schizophrenia are plagued with chronic psychosis,
hallucinations and delusions.
While both disorder are mental illnesses
and share many sub-symptoms, but the main diagnosis of the
disorders are very different.
Living With DID
Living with DID can be very disruptive for a
person with the disorder. Often the dissociative
episodes will come suddenly with no warning,
though they can be triggered. This means that
they people with DID can go through their daily
lives having to deal with confusion, time loss,
derealization and amnesia.
While some people who suffer from DID have a certain
consciousness about what their alters do or say, others
have no idea what they’ve done or said while dissociating.
There is no known cure for DID. However, long-term psychiatric care can be
an effective method of treatment to help keep symptoms and dissociations at
Forms of therapy that can help are
psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and movement therapy
are all recommended.
There are no exact medications that exist for DID, but because many issues
like depression and anxiety are co-morbid with DID, these medications may
be prescribed to help alleviate other coexisting problems.