Symptoms of ‘dissociative identity disorder’
- Mood swings
- Suicidal tendencies
- Compulsions and rituals
- Flashbacks or intrusive memories
- Amnesia, blackouts or time loss
- Panic attacks
- Reactions to stimuli or “triggers”
- Addictive behavior including alcohol or drugs
- Psychotic-like symptoms (including auditory and visual hallucinations)
- Eating disorders
- Trances, fugue states or “out of body experiences.”
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, night terrors, and sleep walking)
Dissociation is the minds way of breaking the connections between itself and the outside world. The person experiences an event or events which the mind is unable to deal with. The person may seem to be somewhere else. The person may act in ways that are so out of character that they seem to be another person. In the past this was referred to as MPD or multiple personality disorder.
With the publication of the DSM-IV (Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – IV) in 1994, the American Psychiatric Association changed the entry for MPD to DID because of the increased understanding of the effects of trauma.
DID is a common reaction to severe emotional trauma. The trauma may be a single event; children may experience DID after a natural disaster such as a hurricane, or it may be trauma which takes place over an extended period of time. Sexual, emotional or physical abuse are examples of long term events that can cause DID.
Some of the symptoms listed above are explained in greater detail here-
Depression when exhibited with other symptoms of DID may be classified as severe or ‘clinical depression’. This type of depression tends to interfere greatly with a persons day to day life.
Compulsions or rituals-
A person in a dissociative state may have compulsions or ritual behaviors which help them deal with stress. They may also when agitated, in a stressful situation or in a situation in which they are exposed to a ‘trigger’. It may involve behavior, speech or thought.
Amnesia, blackouts or time loss-
The person may not remember events which occur while they are in a dissociative state.
The person may have hallucinations while in a dissociative state. An hallucination is a sensory experience which is not real. It may be visual or auditory but may also be an hallucination involving smell, taste or touch.