Multiple Personality Disorder Symptoms and Treatment

Multiple Personality Disorder Symptoms and Treatment

Posted by Jef Gazley, M.S., LMFT, DCC on Aug 16th 2022

Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD has a new name. It is now called DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder. It is exactly the same thing, but the powers that be like to change titles around every few years. They also did it with Manic Depressive Disorder, which now is called Bi-Polar Disorder.

Multiple Personality Disorder or Dissociative Identity Disorder is characterized by the following symptoms according to the handbook that Psychiatrists and Psychologists use called the DSM-IV-TR:

  • The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with is own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self).
  • At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior.
  • An inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
  • The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medial condition (e.g., complex partial seizures). This would not include imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.
  • In Layman's terms this means that in order to have Multiple Personality Disorder or DID, to use the newer title, a person will have to exhibit several separate personalities and often lose time because the person’s main personality or ego state would not be fully conscious while one of the other personalities is dominant.

A person suffering from MPD or Dissociative Identity Disorder may have only two separate personalities or 10. They might be partially aware of the other personalities or not. Often the other personalities or what is called alters have separate names and/or separate genders.

The origin or cause of MDP or Dissociative Identity Disorder is most commonly due to massive physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse when a person is very young. The abuse is so overwhelming for the individual that in order to mentally and emotionally block out the pain a person will dissociate to such an extent that they will develop a separate ego state to experience it while what we think of as the real person blocks out memory.

The goal of treatment is to get the person suffering from MPD or Dissociative Identity Disorder to re-experience all their split off parts and to accept them as part of the person. Then it is important to relive the trauma and integrate it into their lives devoid of the original pain.