Dissociative Personality Disorder





Dissociative Personality Disorder

Dissociative personality disorder is a psychological disorder in which a person has two or more personalities within him or her. These distinct personalities take control of the person’s body at different times and at that time, they have total control. It is more commonly multiple personality disorder, which more aptly captures the description of having several or multiple personalities within one person (Bach & Sellbom 490). It is quite an interesting disorder as the patient turns into a completely different person depending on who is in control. Dissociative personality disorder is characterized by several symptoms, and there are outlined several DSM-V criteria for its diagnosis.

This disorder is a common coping mechanism. A person may develop alternate personalities to escape a traumatic event or memory which they have experienced. The person pictures themselves in a different situation and with time they might find that this dissociation from reality has morphed to become an entirely new personality within their body. DID is associated with abuse such as physical or emotional abuse in the patient’s past, primarily emanating from childhood development years. They can lose memory in unexplained ways (Morton 325), which is the time which alternate personalities take control of their body.

Some of the symptoms of the disorder include the disruption of a person’s identity. During the time in which one of the other personalities takes charge, there are marked differences in the behaviour, perception and reactions of the person. This will be noticed by those around them who will often be quite alarmed by the profound transformation within a short period. Another symptom is the loss of memory. A patient will have memory gaps that they are unable to explain. This can be exacerbated by forgetting important information (Morton 319).

Stress is a symptom that is often caused by the realization that there is something wrong. A person feels very frustrated for example if they find out that they cannot remember things that happened to them in a considerable period. They will also have difficulty in interactions with family, friends, and workmates, among others close to them. A student may go to school and have absolutely no recollection of being taught a concept, and an employee might completely forget a work assignment. Such lapses are frustrating.

As per the DSM-V, the first criterion of diagnosis is the presence of two or more distinct identities. This is detected by changes in behaviour that can either e reported by others around or even by the patient. The second criterion is that the person has episodes of amnesia in which they cannot recall events that happened to them (Bach &Sellbom 492). The third criterion is that the person must have their normal daily function impaired or hampered by the disorder, and this causes them suffering.

The fourth criterion of diagnosing dissociative personality disorder is that the patient’s behaviour is not a part of any religious or cultural practice; their reaction is not out of choice. The fifth criterion is that the symptoms must not have arisen as a result of the consumption of substances such as drugs or alcohol, or any other medical condition. These diagnostic steps are essential in identifying dissociative personality disorder and to come up with measures that can be taken in its treatment. This disorder is often distressing to both the patient and to those around them, especially before diagnosis when they do not understand what is happening.

Works Cited

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5®). American Psychiatric Pub, 2013.

Bach, Bo, and Martin Sellbom. “Continuity between DSM-5 categorical criteria and traits criteria for borderline personality disorder.” The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 61.8 (2016): 489-494.

Morton, John. “Interidentity amnesia in dissociative identity disorder.” Cognitive Neuropsychiatry 22.4 (2017): 315-330.