What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity disorder (DID) is a mental condition where a person has two or more identities which are distinct and that take complete control of the individual. This disorder develops as a childhood disorder in defense against the trauma faced during childhood.

The multiple traits that occur in this disorder are called alters. These traits develop individually along with the person and they help the person face the stressful moments of life by suppressing the main nature of the person.

The person suffering from this disorder feels that there are two or more people living inside of him and that they are completely different in their identity, nature and personal characteristics like name, voice, mannerisms, habits and sometimes gender.

The person tends to have different thoughts which are not his own and often finds himself depressed and resentful when he faces stressful situations in life. He finds it difficult to cope up with the people around him though it may be his own family, friends or close colleagues. Often this disorder is referred to as multiple personality disorder.

What are the Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorders?

Causes of dissociative identity disorder have been traced back to the childhood memories of repeated and extreme physical, sexual or mental abuse that the person has faced. It starts in the developmental stage of a personís life, usually to cope up with trauma.

Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorders

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Amnesia: Loss of memory especially for a short time period and during certain phases of a personís life, loss of memory for recognizing people, place. This is more than just normal loss of memory sometimes the person forgets who he really is.
  • The person feels that he is a different person and feels detached from himself.
  • He feels that everything is unreal around him and does not trust anyone around him.
  • Occupational and social level: The person finds it difficult to cope up with the stress at work and feels abandoned or embarrassed in the society leading to less social nature.
  • Suicidal tendencies are quite common in such people as they are in a state of confusion all the time about their identity.
  • There are phobias, auditory and visual hallucinations.
Signs & Symptoms Of Dissociative Identity Disorder

There are some associated symptoms such as:

Complications of this disorder include:

  • Nightmares
  • Self inflicting wounds
  • Suicide
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression

How do you Diagnose Dissociative Identity Disorder?

There are no specific laboratory tests to diagnose DID but certain criteria in the assessment of the person suffering from the symptoms will help rule out DID.

A person who suffers from DID is evaluated by a psychiatrist based on the symptoms he presents with, along with the past history, physical and developmental history of the personís life.

Sometimes DID is found to be in association with Post traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) too.

The criteria are:

  • That a person is constantly under possession of one of the characters depending upon the situation
  • Loss of memory and state of confusion
  • Difficulty in identifying the people he once met

A psychiatrist will evaluate these symptoms based on the past or childhood history of the patient and co- relate them with any untoward instances that might have occurred in the patientís life during childhood and then come to a conclusion in his diagnosis about DID.

How do you Treat Dissociative Identity Disorder?

DID is treated with much attention and care which does not just include treating the patient with medications but also includes participation from his family, friends and colleagues.

It starts by giving the patient psychiatric counseling, which takes a number of sessions with the psychiatrist who helps the patient come out of their past which they have kept suppressed over the years. The patient is encouraged to overcome their fear and improve their relationships with others. People known to him are encouraged to help the patient remember the short periods of time and things done during that time that he tends to forget. A team with the psychiatrist, family, and friends of the patient strive to form a secure environment for the patient to come out of the trauma and develop into a stronger individual.

Psychiatric Counseling Can Help the Person to Overcome Dissociative Identity Disorder

How do you Prevent Dissociative Identity Disorder?

As DID is found to be as a result of trauma and abuse. Prevention of traumatic situations or even abuse in the personís life will help to preventing DID.

Also identifying the problem and helping the person cope up with the trauma in earlier phase of the personís life will help prevent DID.

Health Tips

  • Have a positive attitude towards life as your past doesnít have to do anything with your present or future.
  • Try to keep yourself busy with charitable social activities where you meet people who need your help. Helping people will help you heal from inside and make your emotions stronger.
  • Deep Breathing exercises and taking a break from the work and going on a vacation to places which are close to nature will help relieve your stress.


  1. Personality Disorders - (http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/cherry2.html)
  2. Identity Disorder - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28755602)
  3. Treatment of Dissociative Identity disorder - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24865199)
  4. DID an overview - (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24788904)

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