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Detailed Discussion About Double Personality

by Tasnim Tanim

Hi there, readers of Mind Your Mind.

If you’re hearing about DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) for the first time, let me tell you the main idea. 

What is DID? 

Dissociative Identity Disorder is thought to be a complex psychological condition which is likely caused by many factors, including severe trauma during early childhood, usually extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. 

Let’s get more in detail:

Dissociative Identity Disorder is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions or sense of identity. Dissociative Identity Disorder is thought to stem from a combination of factors that may include trauma experienced by the person with the disorder. The dissociative aspect is considered to be a copying mechanism- the person literally shuts off or dissociates himself/herself from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic or painful to assimilate with their conscious self.

How to recognize DID and its associated mental disorders:

Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality status that continually have power over the person’s behaviour. With dissociative identity disorder, there’s also an inability to recall key personal information that is too far-reaching to be explained as mere forgetfulness. There are also highly distinct memory variations, which may fluctuate.

Although not everyone experiences DID the same way, for some the “alters” or different identities have their own age, gender or race. Each has his or her own postures, gestures and distinct way of talking. Sometimes, the “alters” are imaginary people; sometimes they are animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individual’s  behaviour and thoughts, this is called “switching”.  Switching can take seconds to minutes to days. Some seek treatment where the person’s different “alters” or “individuals”  may be very responsive to the therapist’s requests.

Readers, if you are thinking “Who’s at risk for DID?”, here’s the answer.

Who’s at risk of DID?

Research indicates that the cause of DID is likely a psychological response to interpersonal and environmental stress, particularly during early childhood years when emotional neglect or abuse may interfere with personality development. As many as 99% of individuals who develop dissociative disorders have recognized personal histories of recurring, overpowering, and often life-threatening disturbances or traumas of a sensitive development stage of childhood, usually before age six. 

Dissociation may also happen when there has been persistent neglect or emotional abuse, even if there has been no over physical or sexual abuse. Findings show that in families where parents are frightening and unpredictable, the children may become dissociative. Studies indicate DID affects about 1% of the population.

In this case, the symptoms may include,

  1. Headaches
  2. Amnesia
  3. Loss of time
  4. Trances 
  5. “Out of body” experiences

Some people with DID have a tendency towards self-persecution, self-sabotage, and even violence (both self-inflicted and outwardly identity disorder). They may find themselves doing things such as speeding, reckless driving or stealing money from their employer or friend or family, but they feel they’re being compelled to do it. Some describe this feeling as being a passenger in their body rather than the driver. In other words, they truly believe they have no choice. There are several main ways in which the psychological process of dissociative identity disorder changes the way a person experiences living, including the following:

  • Derealization, the feeling that the world is not real or looking foggy or far away.
  • Amnesia, the failure to recell significant personal information that is so extensive it cannot be blamed on ordinary forgetfulness. There can also be micro-amnesia where the discussion is engaged in. The content of a meaningful conversation is not remembered, it’s forgotten from one second to the next. 
  • Depersonalisation, a sense of being detached from one’s body and it is often referred to as an “out of body” experience.
  • Identity confusion, a loss of sense of who a person is. An example of identity confusion is when a person has trouble defining the things in their lives or their political, religious, and social viewpoints, their sexual orientation, or their professional ambitions.

It is now acknowledged that their dissociated status are not fully mature personalities, but rather they represent a disjointed sense of identity. There’s usually a “host” personality within the individuals, who identifies with the person’s real name. Ironically, the host personality is unaware of the presence of other personalities. 

 DID is a complex disorder, and there might be other symptoms, such as: 

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Sleep disorders ( insomnia, night terrors and sleepwalking)
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Compulsions and rituals
  • Psychotic like symptoms (hallucinations)
  • Eating disorders

So, readers, that’s all for today. I hope you are doing well. Love for you all. 💖

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