Dissociative Identity Disorder(Multiple personality disorder)

What is Dissociative identity disorder? Dissociative Identity Disorder is one of many mental illnesses. It involves the individual to maintain a minimum of two self identities, which are also known as alters, where the individual tries to make connections and cope with their surroundings and everyday life. Others with this disorder have noticed their personalities cause changes in their reactions. Also, emotions, pulse, blood pressure, and blood flow to the brain change with each type of personality.

(Watch how her personality change effects her everyday life and family.)

Characteristics/Symptoms: People with DID can have multiple personalities, some reaching fifty at a time. These alter identities can reflect the normal life of the person or they can reflect someone completely different. They deal with weight, gender, voice projection, race, and appearance. Every personality has different views on life, not one of them are the same. Some may take on the personality of a guy and change their clothes to show a more manlier appearance. Their moods and actions change completely, and sometimes have no control of it. This process is called switching, where a personality is revealed and comes with set emotions and actions. It only takes seconds for switching to occur in people with DID or it can take hours, even days. This process usually occurs if the patient feels uncomfortable with something in their surroundings that brings memories of a touchy subject to mind. These alter personalities allow the patient to hide their true emotions away and feel protected from the outside world. People with DID can experience serious depression with this mental illness. Most people gain this illness because they had something done to them in the past that makes the person feel oblivious and scared. They do not know how to cope with real life, so by gaining an alter ego, they have a whole new life where they are strong and can be who ever they want to be whenever they want to be.

(Watch as Paula takes on the personality of a little boy who can shoot hoops backwards)
Possible Treatments:
  • Psychotherapy- During psychotherapy, the patient can deal with depression by talking to mental health proffesionals and learn to cope with stress through conversation on the topic. There are four different ways the patient can interact with a proffesional: Family, couple, single, or group. Families are usually the most commone because the patient feels more comfortable around certain people and are willing to open up.
  • Hypnosis- During hypnosis, the patient gains more knowledge on their diagnosis and gain more control. Each patient will be able to gain a better understanding for every personality they have and be able to relax and stay calm with less symptoms.
  • Medications- Medications can be an alternate treatment. During the time the patient is exposed to the medication, it may allow them to act out in good or bad ways. Medications cannot fully treat DID but can help with depression, anger, and impulse-control problems. If a patient does not feel comfortable with taking medications, they should not be forced. This can cause the patient to feel pressured and controlled, making them traumatized once again.

Connections/Symptoms: People with DID go through daily struggles because of this illness. Most people have reported that they have been taunted and abused so the pain digs deeper. Others believe that some of the reasons listed below are an answer to why certain things happen to them throughout their life.
  • Mannerisms
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Distortion
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Compulsions
  • Multiple Phobias
  • Flashbacks or unpleasant memories
  • Panic attacks
  • Reactions to triggers
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • hallucinations
  • Eating disorders
  • Sleep disorders (sleep walking)
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nightmares
  • Somatic pain syndrome
  • Lack of emotional response
  • Amnesia
  • No self confidence

(Watch as this woman struggles with herself to gain confidence)

Statistics: DID use to be known as multiple personality disorder or sometimes split personality disorder. Statistics show about 3% of the overall population with this diease is patients in psychiatric hospitals. This occurs nine more times more often than in males. However, female are less powerful and show sings of weakness, causing them to a higher exposure of DID. To this day, some proffesionals are still unable to prove that DID does not exist. This skeptisicm is from many previous questions regarding why other patients with anxiety and these symptoms are diagnosed with DID and have previously been abused. Other concers regard why people who suffer from DID must rely on these trumatic memories to have a new personality appear. DID is assessed in people in North America rather than all over the word, causing people to believe that DID is only a false myth.
As with any mental illness, symptoms, causes, and statistics are different for children with DID then with adults suffering from it. Studies show adults have more grip on the situation and have grown with the illness, whereas children are going through the experiences in which cause trauma. Research on people suffering from DID that have little or no media exposure to information on their disease lends further to the reliability of this diagnosis.
The first case study for DID was presented in 1906 and movies began appearing about the disease in the late 1950's. In 1953 the movie, "The Three Faces of Eve" tells the unforgettable story of Chris Sizemore, a real-life woman suffering with DID.It is believed that she was diagnosed with the illness as a response to viewing many horrific events in her childhood. The movie shows her three characters developing over a year. The person depicted in that movie had to cope with twenty-two different personalities that took over fourty-five years to be able to coexist in a functional manor. A television series about DID was Sybil, which portrayed the life long story of Shirley Ardell Mason, who recieved painful physical, emotional, and sexual abuse from her mother. Over time, she developed about sixteen different identities. Veracity of the story still remains, explaining Sybil is a hoax and is not appropriate information.

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Words/People you should know:
  • Alter- Change or cause to change in character or composition, typically in a comparatively small but significant way.
  • Cope- Deal effectively with something difficult.
  • Impulse control disorder- Refers to the individual's ability to withhold inappropriate verbal or motor responses while completing a task.
  • Trauma- Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock.
  • Compulsions- An irresistible urge to behave in a certain way, esp. against one's conscious wishes.
  • Amnesia- A partial or total loss of memory.
  • Somatic pain syndrome- the impaired or altered function of bodily structures.
  • Chris Sizemore- (born Chris Costner April 4, 1927) is a woman who, in the 1950s, was diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. Her case was depicted in the book and film The Three Faces of Eve by her psychiatrists, Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley.
  • Shirley Ardell Mason- (January 25, 1923 – February 26, 1998) was an American Psychiatric patient and commercial artist who was reputed to have multiple personality disorder, now called DID. Her life was fictionalized in 1973 in the book Sybil, and two films of the same name were made in 1976 and 2007. Both the book and the films used the name Sybil Isabel Dorsett to protect Mason's identity, though the 2007 remake stated Mason's name in its conclusion.

Crhis Sizemore
Shirley Ardell Mason