What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a mental disorder that involves experiencing a disconnection and lack of continuity between thoughts, memories, actions, identity and surroundings.
People with DID tend to escape reality in involuntary and unhealthy ways — which leads to problems with functioning in day-to-day life.
Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help get rid of difficult memories. There are many symptoms of dissociative disorders that may worsen due to stress.
Treatment for people with dissociative disorders may include talk therapy (psychotherapy) and numerous medications. Even though treating DID can be difficult, there are many new ways for people with DID to lead healthy and productive lives.
You can consult a psychiatrist to help you find the right treatment and the best solution for your condition.
Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative disorders usually develop as your own response to cope with trauma. The disorders generally begin to form in children who are affected by:
- The stress of war and natural disasters
- Long term physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- A home environment that is frightening and unpredictable
- Personal identity is still forming during childhood.
- Personal identities are still formed during childhood. This is why children are more able to come out of their true selves than adults and observe as if it were happening to different people.
- A child learning to disassociate themselves in order to endure a traumatic experience — may use this coping mechanism in response to stressful situations in his or her life.
When to See a Doctor for Dissociative Identity Disorder
Diagnosing dissociative identity disorder may take time. It may take 7 years for people with DID to get an accurate diagnosis.
This is very common. The signs and symptoms of DID are similar to other psychiatric diagnoses. Many people with DID also have borderline or other personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression.
Below are several criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to diagnose someone with dissociative disorders:
- Having two or more identities with different personalities. Each identity has a pattern of understanding, relationships, and thoughts about his or her surroundings.
- Disorders that arise from non-cultural and non-religious practices.
- Depression due to experiencing life difficulties
- Amnesia — the inability to remember day-to-day events, personal information, and traumatic events.
- Symptoms that are not caused by the physiological effects of a substance, such as alcohol poisoning or general medical conditions such as complex partial seizures.
Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder
Signs and symptoms depend on the type of dissociative disorder you have, but may include:
- Having a blurred sense of identity
- Having a sense of being detached from yourself and your emotions
- Being unable to cope well with emotional or professional stress
- Having a perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal
- Having mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Dealing with significant stress or problems in your relationships, work or other important things in your life.
- Having memory loss or amnesia of certain time periods, events, people and personal information
Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder
Treatment for dissociative disorders may vary — depending on the type of disorder you have. In general, your doctor may recommend treatment plans involving psychotherapy and medication.
Psychotherapy is the primary treatment to help overcome dissociative disorders. This method of therapy is also known as talk therapy, counseling sessions, or psychosocial therapy — which involves talking about your disorder with a mental health professional. You should consult a therapist who has experience in working with people who have experienced trauma.
Having a therapist will help you understand the cause of your condition and form new ways of dealing with stressful situations. Over time, your therapist may help you talk more about the trauma you experienced — this is only applicable if you have coping skills and a good relationship with your therapist to have the courage to have the conversation.
The other treatment option for dissociative disorders. Although there are no medications that specifically treat dissociative disorders, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, or antipsychotic medications. These medications serve to help control mental health symptoms associated with DID.
Treatment Cost for Dissociative Identity Disorder
The treatment cost for dissociative disorders may vary from patient to patient — depending on your psychological condition, the doctor’s consultation fees, diagnostic tests and treatment plans.
As part of your treatment, you may have numerous counselling sessions and may be given medications prescribed by your doctor.
For more details regarding the estimated cost for dissociative disorders treatment, you can use Smarter Health’s free service.
Prevention of Dissociative Identity Disorder
A child who is physically, sexually. or emotionally abused are at increased risk of dissociative disorders. If stressful thoughts or other personal issues affect the way you treat your child, seek professional help immediately. Ask for help finding parenting support groups and family therapists.
You can also look for religious communities and community education programs that offer parenting classes. This may help you learn a healthier parenting style.
If your child has been abused or has experienced a traumatic event, see a doctor right away. Your doctor will be able to refer you to a mental health professional who can help your child recover and adopt healthy skills in coping with the trauma.
Home Remedies for Dissociative Identity Disorder
A study shows that people with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) may lead a quality lives if they are willing to undergo comprehensive treatment to treat numerous symptoms.
However, every therapist may have different ways of diagnosing and treating dissociative disorders — which makes it difficult to measure or predict treatment outcomes.
As with any mental health problems, people with a dissociative disorder may have pessimistic mindsets when it comes to life. They may be at risk of committing multiple suicide attempts. Violent behavior is also closely related to dissociative disorders.
If you are thinking of harming yourself (self-harm) or someone else, immediately call your local emergency services.
Have questions about dissociative disorders? Write in the comment section below or use Smarter Health’s teleconsultation service to consult a psychiatrist of your choice.
Smarter Health is ready to help you find comprehensive healthcare services whenever you need it.