What Exactly is Multi-Personality Disorder?


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          The mind is the most complex and confusing thing to exist in this world. While some minds create greatness, others are lost in the world and some even suffer from issues that cannot fully be comprehended. Unfortunately, various people suffer from problems like down syndrome, schizophrenia, the list goes on... However, the disorder that has always made me wonder and feel unsettled about is the multi-personality disorder. I always heard about this problem where people can have a variety of personalities to a point where they have convinced themselves that they are an entirely different person. I was never sure if I believed that this misfortune could happen, until one of my close friends from middle school began to act like an entirely different person. She would always have these random outbursts and blame them on her "grumpy side-effects from [her] time of the month." Recently, she was diagnosed with "Dissociative Identity Disorder", which is the scientific name of multiple personality disorder. 

         People with the Dissociative Identity Disorder can experience issues like depression, psychotic-like symptoms, suicidal tendencies, blackouts, mood swings, eating disorders, compulsions, sleep disorders, etc. All of these possible side-effects are not positive or beneficial, so it makes me extremely concerned and upset that such a happy and upbeat person that I have known my entire life can be experiencing these things behind closed-doors. 

         There is a movie that I saw in my high school Human Development class, which you may have seen called Sybil. This movie was probably one of the most frightening movies that I have seen, because it is so realistic and it is hard to believe that people have dealt with issues similar to her. If you haven't seen it, it is about "a young woman whose childhood was so harrowing that she developed at least thirteen different personalities." Sure, this was an extreme and fictional case, but it still made me feel weary and heartbroken that these things can happen to anyone. She was not "born with" the disorder, but instead she was a victim of trauma. 
 
         Trauma is a huge factor to people developing multiple personalities. Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse can all trigger the mind to become traumatized and disoriented in some ways. People who have been in the war, in the holocaust, earthquakes, losing a loved one, or have been sexually assaulted can develop 'DID'. PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is proven to have been the cause for mental illnesses of 8% Americans. When so much stress is repeated emotionally and/or physically the brain can be extremely altered. "The Broca's Area and parts of the right hemisphere of the brain is reported to be markedly suppressed." The right hemisphere is shown to process visual images and experience emotions, and speech can be effected as well causing people to become conflicted and forming "more personalities".

          A lot of research has been done of Dissociative Identity Disorder, and "studies show that in the general population 1 to 3 percent meet full criteria of 'DID' making it as common as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia." This disorder can be caused by trauma in childhood, in the war, from a loss of a loved one (specifically a parent), and extreme stress. Many believe that there is no cure for this disorder, and a lot of people also believe that treatment can lead to the disorder to become worse. However, there have been measures taken along the lines of psychotherapy,  cognitive therapy, medication (revolving around depression and anxiety), family therapy, and clinical hypnosis. 

         My friend did experience a loss of her father, so that could be a main factor into what triggered her recently diagnosed disorder. Although, this disorder makes me so nervous and concerned about her health because there is not a obvious cure to help her. I hope she doesn't reach extremities like some people have, or what was demonstrated in the movie Sybil. The mind is the strangest and craziest thing that exists on this planet, and I hope people find ways to help the minds find their way back if lost. Has there ever been a moment where you have not felt like yourself, as if you were an entirely different person after being so stressed or tired, why do you think that happened?
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Works Cited: 

       "Dissociative Identity Disorder." AAMFT. 01 Dec. 2013. <http://www.aamft.org/imis15/content/Consumer_Updates/Dissociative_Identity_Disorder.aspx>


       "Dispelling Myths about Dissociative Identity Disorder | Psych Central." Psych Central. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://psychcentral.com/lib/dispelling-myths-about-dissociative-identity-disorder/0009785>


       "Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder): Signs, Symptoms, Treatment." WebMD. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder?page=3>


       "Human Diseases and Conditions." Human Diseases and Conditions. 29 Nov. 2013. <http://www.humanillnesses.com/original/Men-Os/Multiple-Personality-Disorder-Dissociative-Identity-Disorder.html>

 

        "What is Dissociate Disorder?" Sidran Institute. 3 Dec. 2013.   <http://www.sidran.org/sub.cfm?contentID=75&sectionid=4>

5 Comments

Georgie, great posts I never knew certain life changing experiences can lead to multi- Personality disorder, It breaks my heart how some one that is perfectly normal can be affected by things that are outside their control.

It was interesting reading about this because when I was younger I saw a scary movie called Hide and Seek. It was about a guy with multiple personalities and he'd kill people at night and not realize he was the reason he'd wake up every morning and people would be gone. It always freaked me out because I knew the disease actually existed and made me nervous that could happen to someone I knew without anyone realizing it at first. The mind is definitely an interesting thing and disorders like this make me wonder how well will we ever be able to fully understand the mind.

I have learned a lot about multi personality disorder in my psychology class. This is a disorder where depending on the enviroment or mood, a person will have a split personality. I can also relate this to multiple identity disorder, where an individual actually feels he or she is a completely different person at different times of the day. This disorder is really scary, yet interesting. I found your research and blog very interesting. I like when you explained their personalities could be due to their childhood. There are many different factors and comorbidities that go along with this. This can also be called "dissociative identity disorder". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissociative_identity_disorder

There is a lot of question as to whether multiple personality disorder exists because of how rare it is. There is a question as to whether the person has any control over when the switches happen. Also, this is controversial because I could dress like a goth one day and a prep the next and where does the line draw for having the disorder? http://taradeliberto.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-multiple-personality-disorder-real.html

Frankly, I find Kathleen's comment to be pretty ableist. Having two different styles of dress is completely different from DID. Dated dichotomies aside, I don't think you really understand what the people suffering from DID are saying here. They don't just wake up and dress in a different way. They claim to have been completely taken over by a different personality out of their control. Who someone is extends beyond how they dress on different days. United States of Tara is a wonderful show about a mother who is afflicted with DID, and it does the disorder a lot more justice than it seems the movie Alyssa mentioned does. There's an intense stigma in this country against neuroatypical people, and movies like that are part of the problem.

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