March 24, 2010

Split Personality Disorder Symptoms & Treatment

Posted in Category : Depression

Multiple personality disorder, more accurately known as dissociative identity disorder, is a condition wherein at least two sharply distinct personalities manifest themselves in the patient. These personalities may be of a different gender and age, have a different name, and hold diametrically different views from the host persona. This is distinct from the natural variability we see in human behavior on a day to day basis, and it often involves an inability to remember what the other personality did, however memorable they be. While at least one of the personalities may identify with the person’s own name, it may not be aware of the others. Besides multiple personalities, the person often exhibits sharp shifts in mood, including uncharacteristically reckless behavior, panic attacks, suicidal thinking, drug use, obsessive behavior, and sociopathic symptoms visual and auditory hallucinations (visual hallucinations are not seen in schizophrenia, a completely different kind of dissociation). It may also involve bulimia, anorexia or other eating disorders, and an urge to do damage to both oneself – in the form of blame or actual violence – and others. They may feel they are not real, that their mirror image is not of themselves, and write in a way that, later, they may recognize as not being anything like their own characteristic handwriting.


While they exhibit different personalities, researchers believe that these are not complete personas but evidence of an inability of the person to build oneself completely. They may also suffer headaches, an absence and lapses of memory, including significant dates such as birthdays, blackouts involving time (after one personality comes and goes), and out of body experiences. Because it is believed to be a result of childhood trauma in susceptible individuals, treatment usually involves having a therapist. The therapist helps the patient deal with his or her natural milieu and to address those feelings that they have avoided in the past. While previously the effort was to get back to one personality, nowadays the effort is to let each part of them know and co-exist with the other. This may also involve the use of hypnosis. To address the problems that come along with dissociative identity disorder, such as mood swings, depression and anger, drug treatment may be prescribed with caution. Caution needs to be taken, because patients can often feel they are being manipulated – and suffer their trauma anew. More patience is required to treat those disorders involving mood and food, than those who manifest just symptoms of the disorder along with trauma.