MentalHealth Disorder Research Paper: Dissociative Identity Disorder

MentalHealth Disorder Research Paper: Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociativeidentity disorder is a mental problem that is also termed as multiplepersonality disorder. It is characterized by the occurrence of aminimum of two separate characters that are persistent and come outalternately in the behavior patterns of that person. This state ofdissociated personality is usually accompanied by instances of memoryimpairment which cannot be easily explained by forgetfulness andthere is no association with substance abuse, seizures or highlyimaginative plays. Making a diagnosis of this disorder is a hard taskto accomplish due to the presence of comorbidity with other mentalproblems that exist [ CITATION Pau09 l 1033 ].

Thisdisease was selected due to the complexity of its occurrence.Dissociative identity disorder is a controversial psychiatric issue.There have been a lot of arguments concerning its presence and theassociated effects. Professionals have not been able to come up witha clear agreement concerning the best methods of diagnosis as well asthe criteria and means of treatment. There is quite limited data onthe same problem but since the year 1990, there has been an increasein the total number of court cases that were related to itsdiagnosis. The judicial system had experienced controversy with DID,especially when it was used by more people as an insanity defense [ CITATION Pau09 l 1033 ].

DIDis reflected by the failure or inadequacy to incorporate diverseaspects of identity, and a state of consciousness into one particularself. More often than not, the central status carries the person’sname and is characterized by a passive, dependent, and guilt anddepressed situation. Each of the personality states is termed asalters and when in control, they are felt like a distant memory of ahistorical event or identity. The characters in the alter such as thename, age, gender, language, general knowledge and the mood aresignificantly different from each other. Various conditions andstress sources facilitate the emergence of an alter. As mentionedbefore the two or more personalities may have the position of denialof one another, critical of one another and in some situations, therecan be open conflict.


Thegeneral symptoms associated with multiple personality disordersinclude lapses in the levels of attention, a distraction from thingsby other particular happenings, daydreaming, disruptions, andbreakdown of memory, awareness, identity and general perceptions.These symptoms are usually varied over time and specialists haveestablished that they do not efficiently resolve spontaneously ontheir own. Making a prognosis is very hard, especially in the caseswhere the disorder has comorbidity with other mental illness. Inparticular, the affected person possesses two or more separateidentities with each having its worldview relating to thoughts, thesurroundings, and self. Also, the number of identities that can beobserved range between 2 and more than 100 states. However, most ofthe known cases are reported to have less than 10 of thepersonalities [ CITATION Psy14 l 1033 ].


Atone point in time, at least two of the identities take control of anindividual leading to a change in the behavior of instances where oneof the personalities has its history, self-image, character and attimes a distinct name from the other figures. The identities can comeabout due to certain situations that trigger the happening.Apparently, the primary trigger that facilitates the transition fromone status to the other is psychological stress. In the course of thedisplay of these signs, depression, anxiety, passivity, dependenceand guilt can be quickly exposed. For instance, school-going childrenwith this disorder tend to portray an inability to focus orconcentrate on the classwork activities. At times, aggressivebehavior might be illustrated which might go to extremes as to beself-destructive. These symptoms are accompanied by both visual andauditory hallucinations which further increase the impacts andintensity of the behaviors. It takes quite some time before a personcan be diagnosed with the disorder. Psychiatrists have maintainedthat the average period of the observation of the initial symptomsand actual diagnosis is about six to seven years [ CITATION Psy14 l 1033 ].This mental disturbance is not closely related to the physiologicaland psychological effects of substance nor is it a result of aparticular medical situation.Traumatic experiences such as extreme physical mistreatment, sexualabuse, and cruelty seem to be the source.


Apparently,there are no specific epidemiological studies that have been carriedout to identify and establish the prevalence of the disorder.However, there has been a significant increase in the number of casesand the International Society for the Study of Trauma andDissociation provides information that the prevalence stands atapproximately 1 to 3% of the total population. This statistic isslightly higher at between 1 and 5% for inpatient individuals inEurope and North America alone. North America is known to be morefrequently diagnosed with DID compared to any other region of theworld [ CITATION Ved11 l 1033 ].

Concerningthe distribution, the disorder is much more common in females thanmales more so in young adults. The rate goes as much as 5 to 9 timesmore in women. However, there is no significant difference betweenmen and women coupled with the fact that diagnosis is difficult andrelatively rare in childhood. The high number of diagnosed cases hasbeen attributed to the implementation of inappropriate medicaltechniques and methods [ CITATION Ved11 l 1033 ].On the contrary, other speculations cite that theability to recognize the disorder is facilitated by more diagnoses.


Themost efficient treatment for dissociative identity disorder isfounded on the provision of long-term psychotherapy in an attempt tomake sure that the varied personalities have been united into asingle entity that is not conflicting. Cognitive and creativetherapies have also been applied successfully in some situations, butthere are no specific drugs that are identified to offer directtreatment for this problem. Nevertheless, medications such asantidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs or tranquilizers may berecommended to assist with the regulation of the mental symptoms thataccompany DID [ CITATION Int11 l 1033 ].

Similarto the contentions present in the diagnosis and understanding of thisdisorder, treatment is also not explicitly agreed upon byprofessionals. Existing treatment guidelines and procedures are basedon an eclectic approach that is implemented in a systematic manner. Often, the management methods are applied as a combination ofpsychotherapy procedures, cognitive behavioral therapy, insightoriented therapies, dialectical behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy andeye movement desensitization and reprocessing. The treatment takesplace over an extended period, usually years with regular contactbetween the patient and the doctor. Some therapists have suggestedthe application of sleep hygiene as a treatment option although thereis no concrete proof concerning the technique [ CITATION Int11 l 1033 ].

Athree-stage treatment plan has been developed to help in controllingthis disorder. The first phase involves the development of skills ina patient with the sole purpose of assisting him to learn how to bearhigh-risk situations and behavior that can prove to be dangerous. Italso takes care of emotional regulation measures, interpersonaleffectiveness as well as other practical activities. The techniquealso incorporates the reduction of possible cognitive distortionsassociated with traumatic experiences. The middle phase involves theuse of graded exposure methodologies followed by the necessaryinterventions. The last step is more individualized and works towardthe integration and unity of the personalities into one identity. Afurther outlook into the steps indicates that the first treatmentphase emphasizes on getting rid of the distressing facets while atthe same time ensuring safety and improving the capacity to maintainhealthy relationships and general body functioning. In the case ofany present comorbid disorders such as substance abuse andnutritional disorders, the treatment addresses them consistently. Thesecond phase centers upon dealing with traumatic memories of pastevents and preventing re-dissociation. Finally, the last stage triesto reconnect or bring the identities into a single unit but with theprimary memory and experiences remaining intact.


Dissociativeidentity disorder is a condition that affects quite some people, andits effects are profound. It is clear that diagnosis and treatmentare not a task that is easily achieved. However, there isconsiderable progress made towards its detection and control. Studieshave been done with the aim of developing treatment models, and theresearchers concluded that the authors found that it is important tostrengthen the therapeutic relationship of the affected patients atan early stage of therapy. Due to the complexity of the disorder,more in-depth research needs to be undertaken to improve theunderstanding of the problem and ways in which it can be preventedand also controlled.


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International Society for the Study of Dissociation. (2011). Guidelines for Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder in Adults, Third Revision. Journal of Trauma &amp Dissociation, 115-187.

Psychology Today. (2014, November 24). Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). Retrieved from Psychology Today:

Sar, V. (2011). Epidemiolog y of Dissociative Disorders: An Overview. Epidemiolog y Research International, 1-8.