Dissociative Identity Disorder

Symptoms of ‘dissociative identity disorder’

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Compulsions and rituals
  • Phobias
  • Flashbacks or intrusive memories
  • Amnesia, blackouts or time loss
  • Headaches
  • 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.

Psychotic-like symptoms-
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.



Dissociative Identity Disorder — 2 Comments

  1. I am a survivor of sibling abuse from years ago. I have had mental problems since then and just recently am realizing I have some real problems. I have always been diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. A few years ago I was diagnose as Bi-Polar. My oldest sister attempted to kill me several times when I was a child. My parents never believed me. She was the meanest person and still is, that I have ever known. She has hated me as long as I can remember. She tried to throw me out of a top story of a building and use to beat me up whenever anything made her mad. I have always had one kidney and many times she would beat me on it to try to damage the only kidney I had so that I would die. She constantly told me how she wanted me gone or dead and she did try to eliminate me. Now I not only suffer from mental disorders but my kidney is damaged to the point I am having problems and I don’t know how long it will last. She turned my other sister against me with lies and none of them have spoken to me in 30 years. It is hard to live with these memories considering I used to love my family so much but my sisters hated me especially the oldest on (Diana). What can I do about this ongoing nightmare that won’t leave my mind? I am having a hard time moving on with all the bad memories and the guilt I feel making her hate me so much.

  2. Pamela,

    I am so sorry. It must have been horrible for you. I pray you will be able to find a counsellor that can help you work through your memories and experiences.

    I am a father and I suspect that my son is abusing is younger sister. She is 15 and giong through a lot. I pray that she will participate in the counselling and that her brother will consent to counselling too. My wife and I will need help through this as well and websites liek this one may be a good place to start.

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