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Dissociative Identity Disorder : What it's like to live with DID

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

Dissociative identity disorder(DID) previously known as multiple personality disorder until 1994.

It is a rare mental disorder in which the person suffers from one or more alternate personalities with or without their own awareness and they also feel like someone else is controlling them and they have lost their own personality.

The person also experiences memory loss that is more extreme to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.

Dissociative disorder are mental illness that tends to disrupts or breaks the memory,consciousness or awareness,identity or perception that works smoothly in a normal human being.It potentially disrupt every area of mental functioning.

People suffering from DID involve problems with memory, identity, emotion, perception, behavior and sense of self. In order to escape from the reality or stress they develop this type of disorder.

People suffering from DID show alternate personalities and they also suffer amnesia during an alter takes over that person's behavior.

And this alternate personality has different trait,personal history and a different perspective of life and surrounding. An alter may also be of different gender,age or name and even different taste and preferences. Interesting fact is that this alternate personality may have different allergies than the main person.

The person may or may not remember when this type of personality takes over and these personalities are triggered by Stress or Trauma of the main person.

As you may have seen the movie "Split" which also explains this disorder in a very simple way but still it can be lethal to the person suffering from it or to his/her surroundings.

Why the name was changed from Multiple personality disorder to Dissociative Identity Disorder??

The name was changed to reflect the correct meaning of this disorder that it is more like breaking or losing connection of identity, rather than by having separate personalities.

Who are at risk?

DID is very rare and can occur at any age and Females are more likely to get DID as compared to male.

Trauma is the main feature that contributes towards Dissociative identity disorder. Almost 90% of cases of DID involve a history of abuse. Trauma like severe

emotional,physical or sexual abuse and it may also link to accidents,wars and natural disaster or a loss of close people.These all can be the factor in developing DID.

Symptoms of DID

  • The distinct identities are accompanied by changes in behavior, memory and thinking. The signs and symptoms may be observed by others or reported by the individual.

  • Change in function's from highly effective to disabled or disturbed.

  • Extreme signs of Headache or pain in parts of body.

  • Depersonalization (feeling disconnected from one’s own thoughts, feelings, and body)

  • Derealization (feeling that the surrounding environment is not real or is different)

  • Depression and/or mood swings

  • Anxiety

  • Eating and sleeping disturbances

  • Problems with functioning sexuality

  • Substance abuse

  • Amnesia (memory loss or feeling a time distortion)

  • Hallucinations (false perceptions or sensory experiences, such as hearing voices)

  • Self - harm such as cutting and harming own body.

  • Suicide risk

  • Ongoing gaps in memory about everyday events, personal information and/or past traumatic events.

  • The symptoms cause significant distress or problems in social, occupational or other areas of functioning.

Were there people who suffered DID?

Well the answer is Yes , Famous people with dissociative identity disorder include comedienne Roseanne Barr, Adam Duritz, and retired NFL star Herschel Walker.


For those who don't know what is DSM-5, it is a manual for determining or diagnosing a mental disorder but it doesn't include guidelines for any treatment of mental disorder.

The DSM-5 provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:

  1. The person tends to show two or three personalities that is totally different from the main person.

  2. Amnesia or memory loss must occur, as not remembering what happened during everyday events or forgetting important personal information.

  3. The person suffering will have difficulty in functioning in important areas of life because of the disorder

  4. The disturbance is not religious practice or culture.

  5. The symptoms cannot be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition (such as complex partial seizures).

If you are interested in Knowing more on mental Disorder diagnosis Consider buying a DSM-5 manual Click here

Were there people who suffered DID?

Well the answer is Yes , Famous people with dissociative identity disorder include comedienne Roseanne Barr, Adam Duritz, and retired NFL star Herschel Walker.


  • Psychotherapy: Also called talk therapy, the therapy is designed to work through whatever triggered and triggers the DID. The goal is to help “fuse” the separate personality traits into one consolidated personality that can control the triggers. This therapy often includes involving family members in the therapy.

  • Hypnotherapy. Used in conjunction with psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis can be used to help access repressed memories, control some of the problematic behaviors which accompany DID as well as help integrate the personalities into one.

  • Adjunctive therapy . Therapies such as art or movement therapy have been shown to help people connect with parts of their mind that they have shut off to cope with trauma.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: This form of psychotherapy focuses on changing dysfunctional thinking patterns, feelings, and behaviors.

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): This technique was designed to treat people with persistent nightmares, flashbacks, and other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • Dialectic-behavior therapy (DBT): A form of psychotherapy for people with severe personality disturbances,which can include dissociative symptoms that often occur after an experience of abuse or trauma.

  • Family therapy: This helps teach the family about the disorder as well as helping family members recognize symptoms of a recurrence.

  • Creative therapies (for example art therapy, music therapy): These therapies allow patients to explore and express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a safe and creative environment.

  • Meditation and relaxation techniques: These help people to better tolerate their dissociative symptoms and become more aware of their internal states.

  • Clinical hypnosis: A treatment method that uses intense relaxation, concentration, and focused attention to achieve an altered state of consciousness, allowing people to explore thoughts, feelings, and memories they may have hidden from their conscious minds.

There is no accurate treatment for Dissociative identity Disorder and people with this disorder when treated may do well and the treatment may take a long time and strict process.

AT first the alter personalities of the main person is identified and empowering all the alter version to come as a whole person. And most important is to treat depression ,anxiety or substance abuse.

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