Multiple Personality Disorder

*Multiple Personality disorder, otherwise known as Dissociative Identity Disorder, is a common effect of severe trauma during early childhood. This trauma is mostly caused by extreme, repetitive physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse. Multiple Personality Disorder is when a person has two or more distinct personalities that have power over the person's behavior.

Symptoms & Characteristics

*Multiple Personality Disorder when a person has different identities. The different identities are also called "alters". These alters have their own age, sex, or race, and they each have different ways of presenting themselves, such as gestures, postures, and even the way they speak. When the individual has a certain personality it controls the individuals behavior and thoughts, the change in personalities is called "switching". The switching of personalities can take seconds, minutes, or days. When the individual switches identities they don't remember who they were before. They have amnesia, because they don't remember important personal information. They lose the sense of identity that people should have, and often have an "out of body" experience, or feeling detached from themselves.
As well as the multiple personalities people with this can also have:
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Compulsions and rituals
  • Psychotic-like symptoms (hallucinations)
  • Eating disorders


There is no cure for Multiple Identity Disorder, but the long-term treatment is very effective if the patient stays committed. The long-term treatments include various types of therapy, and medication. The types of therapy include psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, and adjunctive therapies. Since some of the symptoms of multiple identity are depression, and anxiety, the individual could be treated with the same medication as those disorders, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Types of Therapy

  • Psychotherapy is similar to talk therapy. An individual talks to a therapist about about their psychological problems, and hopefully comes to a resolution for their problems. The therapist is trained to listen and understand the individuals speech, the words you say, the words you don't, and your tone are all things the therapist pays close attention to, to understand what you say.
  • Hypnotherapy is when you are put in a trance and are deeply relaxed. During hypnotherapy your thoughts become more focused, you are relaxed and your heart rate and blood pressure lowers. The hypnotherapist is trained to try and change the patients behaviors that are causing a problem.
  • Adjunctive Therapy is a secondary therapy used to help out the primary ones. In this case the primary therapies are psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy. The adjunctive therapy that would most likely be used for Multiple Personality Disorder, would be a type of arts or movement therapy.


Multiple Personality Disorder, or Dissociative Identity Disorder, can severely impact everyday life. People with this disorder use the different identities as a way to cope with their emotions. When they are in a situation that they dislike, or that is uncomfortable for them, they can change their alter. For example a person could be really shy at one moment and then they could be loud and flirty the next. Another example would be, if a multiple personality person is upset they might take part in activities, such as drinking or drugs, that at other times, when they are in a different alter, they could find these activities horrendous. A person with this disorder is confused about who they are, and can experience distortions during anytime or situation. They can have an "out of body" experience, Depersonalization, and they often have Derealization, or feeling like the world isn't real, it looks foggy, or far away. This causes them to have the tendency to be depressed, and suicidal.


98% to 99% of people that have Multiple Personality Disorder have recognized personal histories of trauma and or abuse during childhood (usually before age 9). Research shows that families where the parents are frightening and unpredictable, the child may become dissociative and later have multiple personality disorder.
Studies show that about 1 per 10,000 people in the population have MPD, Multiple Personality Disorder.
Other studies show that about 90% of these people tend to be women, but in other cases, MPD can also occur in males as well. As much as 20%.

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Compulsions- an irresistible persistent impulse to perform an act, such as excessive hand washing.
Distortions- a lack of correspondence of size or intensity in an image resulting from defects in an optical system.