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Dissociative Identity Disorder

(Also Known As: DID, Personality Disorder, Multiple Personalities, Identity Disorder)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a severe form of dissociative disorder which involves an individual taking on multiple personalities. Eventually, these identities will take control of the individual. Even though this personality disorder is not a result of direct psychological effects of a drug or general medical condition, this rare form of disorder has become quite common nowadays.

Aside from having multiple personalities, Dissociative Identity Disorder actually involves the loss of memory and identity fragmentation instead of multiple personality. In 1994, the mental illness known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) became Dissociative Identity Disorder to emphasize the personality fragmentation instead of having distinct personalities.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) includes DID as one of the four Dissociative Disorders along with Dissociative Amnesia, Depersonalization Disorder, and dissociative fugue. All four disorders involve abnormalities in the integration of identity, consciousness, or memory. A normal individual has a single identity composed of many parts that cooperate with each other. There is a single I-function involving a conglomeration of feelings and thoughts derived from a network of various regions in the brain. On the other hand, an individual suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder consists of a decentralized, inner connection of multiple I-functions with its own structure, behavior, and thinking.

DID Differentiated from Schizophrenia

Dissociative Identity Disorder is often confused with another mental illness, Schizophrenia. Although both are severe disorders, the two actually involve different conditions. Schizophrenia involves chronic psychosis, as well as hallucinations and delusions. However, a schizophrenic individual does not assume multiple personalities. A suicidal tendency is a feature involved in a schizophrenic as well as an individual with Dissociative Identity Disorder. However, the latter is more prone to committing suicide than the former, as well as having other personality disorders.

Could You Have Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder Topics

Related Conditions

Borderline Personality Disorder – Personality Disorder, Mood Changes, Dissociation, Splitting Personality
Depersonalization Disorder – Recurrent De-Realization, Feeling of Disconnection from the Body and Mind, Out of the Body Experience
Dissociative Amnesia – Functional Amnesia, Abnormal Memory Functioning Without Brain Damage, Retrograde Amnesia
Schizophrenia – Mental Disorder, Paranoia, Hallucination, Delusion, Disorganized Speech and Thinking
Somatization Disorder – Hysteria, Variable Physical Symptoms with no Identifiable Physical Origins