Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Real?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) which was formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder is probably the most controversial and misunderstood psychiatric diagnosis. Many people including some mental health professionals continue to question if this disorder is real. It is also confused with schizophrenia which is a psychotic disorder in which people have visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations. Many jokes are made about this disorder. It has been portrayed in the movies “Sybil” and “The Many Faces of Eve.” It is believed that .01 to 1% of the world population has this disorder and is more commonly diagnosed in women.
People with D.I.D. have been the victims of severe and continuing abuse as children. Their personality becomes fragmented and parts of them will “rescue” the victim by allowing them to dissociate during episodes of abuse. When “the host” returns, she/he may have no memory of the abuse. The victim can continue to fragment and develop any number of “alters” in order to deal with or cope with different situations. There is plenty of information on the internet about this disorder. Therefore, I will not go any further into the details of the disorder or how it is treated. Due to the questions about this disorder, the myths associated with it, and the jokes made about it, many people who have D.I.D. feel a great deal of shame. They fear coming forward for help and work very hard to conceal the disorder from others. They need to know that they will be accepted and understood in order for them to receive the help they need.
There is no doubt in my mind that this disorder is real. It is also a difficult disorder to treat and requires intense and long term treatment. I have worked with many people with this disorder in the past 15 years with some pretty good results. This is a valid disorder that is separate and different from other disorders listed in the D.S.M. (the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric association).

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