Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple Personality Disorder, renamed dissociative identity disorder, is the suggestion that one body may serve as a home to multiple individuals, each with their own distinct personality. (Grolier encyclopedia) This suggestion is accepted by psychiatrists world wide and is recognized as a serious mental illness. However, all of the personalities that are present in an individual are normal. They act as any other normal personality, because the multiple personalities have their own memories which dictate the personality of the individual or alter personality.(Dr. McQueen) There can be over one hundred personalities in a body, some not even human. (There have been many documented cases of people having animal or even inanimate object personalities) But, how can psychiatrist remove all of them or allow them to coincide in peace? There are many different treatments for dissociative identity disorder, but if they will work all depends on the case and treatment method. The symptoms of dissociative identity disorder are fairly easy to recognize, as well. The least puzzling thing about dissociative identity disorder is what causes it.

There are many different theories on why people create or have multiple personalities but few are scientifically accepted. The most accepted and proved reason is severe and prolonged abuse. The host feels that they are responsible for the abuse but not for their own behavior and they feel that they deserve the punishment but can?t comprehend why the abuse is taking place. To deal with these conflicting thoughts the abused person creates multiple personalities so they can ?hold these mutually exclusive belief systems concurrently without conflict.? (Ross and Gahan 231-239) Also severely abused persons will create multiple personalities to help them deal with the inescapable situation that they are in. Severely abused people are not the only ones who are at risk for having dissociative identity disorder, substance abusers, children (under nine) who have suffered a life-threatening trauma, or people with a theoretical gene that causes dissociative identity disorder to occur.(Sidran Foundation brochure) Those severely and/or prolongly abused, or survivors of austere sexual abuse are at the greatest risk for having dissociative identity disorder and often have many symptoms of it.


There is another dark side to the multiple personalities caused by severe or prolonged abuse. About sixty percent of all people who ?created? multiple personalities due to abuse, often have an abusive personality. Because the abusive personality will surface in times of great stress the once abused victim can become an abuser him/herself. Continuing a horrible cycle of abuse and severe mental scarring. (Sidran Foundation-brochure)

The symptoms of dissociative identity disorder are often fairly easily to identify. The most obvious symptom, but hardest to recognize, is the presence of multiple personalities in one body. They are very hard to detect unless you know the person well because most of the alter personalities will react rationally to the situation they are presented with. (Chase 187-194) Imaginary friends, for an adult or teen, and ?voices? heard in the head are some of the more recognizable symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. Other symptoms of dissociative identity disorder are blank spells, frequently misplaced personal objects, and referring to oneself in the first person plural sense. Any of these last three can refer to a variety of different things, but imaginary friends,as an adult or teen, hearing ?voices?, and having alter personalities to deal

with different situations are almost definite signs that a person has dissociative identity disorder. (Braun 4-23) Dissociative identity disorder can be cured by a few psychiatric and clinical ways.

To treat dissociative identity disorder effectively it must first be identified properly , by taking the symptoms and patient history into consideration. Then to continue with treatment, the diagnosis must be fully explained to each personality who is fearful or in disbelief of the diagnosis. This is the first step in the Initial treatment phase. (Putnam 1989)(Ross 1989)
Next the psychiatrist must form a trusting relationship with the personalities (not all but majority needed) and conduct the therapy in a secure environment where the person will feel safe. Since each personality can differ greatly, in age, sex, memory, each will prefer a different area in which they feel secure, making this a very difficult task. The psychiatrist must learn where each personality feels safe, and conduct