Dissociative identity disorder, commonly known as multiple personality disorder, is when a person’s identity fragments into two or more distinct personality states.

It is a rare condition, often described as an experience of possession. The person will experience memory loss that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. This type of disorder was known as multiple personality disorder up until 1994, when the name was then changed to represent a better understanding of the condition.

It reflects a failure to integrate aspects of identity, memory, and consciousness into a single multidimensional self. Usually,a primary identity carries the individual’s given name and is passive, dependent, guilty and depressed. When in control, each personality state may experience a case of thinking it has had a distinct history, reported age and gender, vocab and general knowledge. Certain circumstances or triggers can cause a particular identity to emerge. The personalities may deny knowledge of one another, put them down, or appear to be in open conflict.


  • The individual experiences two or more distinct identities or personality states.
  • The disruption in identity involves change in sense of self, sense of agency, and changes in behaviour, consciousness, memory, perception, cognition and motor function.
  • Frequent gaps are found in an individual’s memories of personal history, including people, places and events, for both of the distant and recent past. These recurring gaps are not consistent with ordinary forgetting.
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important ares of functioning.

The problem is with some identities they can emerge with specific circumstances. The way that transitions go from one identity to another is often triggered by something that is called psychosocial stress In the possession form of dissociative identity disorder, some identities are visibly obvious to people around the individual.

They may describe the feeling that they have suddenly become depersonalised observers of their own speech and actions. They might report hearing voices and in some cases, the voices accompany multiple streams of thought that the individual has no control over. They may also experience sudden impulses or very strong emotions that they don’t feel like they can control. They may feel like their bodies feel different and that they experience a sudden change in attitudes or personal preferences before shifting back to their ‘original’ personality.


It is not entirely understood how DID comes about, but it has frequently been reported that the individual has experienced severe physical and sexual abuse during childhood in the past. It may come about at any age. Individuals with DID may have post-traumatic symptoms (nightmares, flashbacks, or sudden responses) or a post-traumatic stress disorder.

Coping with dissociative identity disorder

  • Look for a therapist and get the help from them, let them make writings about your distinct personalities. Try to recognise these two identities as if they are two different people, though it is kind of weird it is extremely helpful in order to be aware of those identities.
  • Since you recognise them as different identities, organise things that will entertain your other personalities occasionally.
  • Always be observant about the situations that may produce dissociation. Since you cannot control everything that could happen in the environment, always make sure that you are aware of the events that could happen.
  • Do activities that will make you feel relaxed and at peace. Try and do some sports and creative things like crafts that will keep your hands busy and mind free. Try and do things that will bring you happiness and joy.


It contains a long term psychotherapy with the goal of separating the different personalities and making them return to one. Other treatments include cognitive and creative therapies. There are no medications that treat this disorder, antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, or tranquillisers may be prescribed to help control the psychological symptoms associated with it.

Before diagnosis and treatment:

  • A person is unaware of exactly what is controlling their lives.
  • A person feels helpless to organise their life and even their identity.
  • A person can feel isolated and broken, and they may hide from life.
  • With incorrect diagnoses, a person may suffer as a result of attempting the wrong treatment options.

After treatment begins:

  • They are able to see more clearly the dynamics of dissociation as a coping mechanism.
  • They have tools for navigating their days and integrating the various parts of themselves.
  • With compassionate care, they discover a spirit of acceptance and take an active role in their recovery.
  • Following an accurate diagnosis, specialists can design an individualised treatment plan.

Call MIND on 0845 766 0163 or email info@mind.org.uk

Call Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Disorders on 0800 181 4420 or email info@pods-online.org.uk



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