What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
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Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disorder that was previously known as multiple personality disorder. It involves a person developing several separate personalities or identities. This disorder usually develops as a result of trauma or abuse, as a way to help protect the person from their trauma. These identities help them avoid having to reexperience their traumatic memories. Each identity that a person with DID has is distinguished by unique characteristics. ​​The average number of identities is 10, but can range greatly. DID is a rare disorder and affects around 1.5% of people in the world. Many people who have this disorder have been misdiagnosed in the past. They typically receive their DID diagnosis after seeing several mental health professionals. 

Have you been recently diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder? Are you hoping to find treatment from a licensed clinical therapist? If so, take a moment to learn more about DID and what it encompasses. You can also learn how licensed clinicians can benefit you.

What are the symptoms of dissociative identity disorder?

Here are some of the most common symptoms of DID: 

  • Switching to separate identities Most people who have dissociative identity disorder report having at least two identities. These identities can take on different characteristics including unique names, voices, distinct personalities, and individual preferences. These separate identities may emerge during different emotional states.

  • Feeling disoriented or disconnected from reality — It’s very common for people with dissociative identity disorder to experience disorientation. Someone with DID may report feeling separated from reality. They may also feel like the people around them aren’t real. Some people start to feel disconnected from their own identity.

  • Having memory loss — Someone with dissociative identity disorder may report having little to no memory of past events. They might not remember certain times during their life. DID clients can also find it hard to remember certain events, people, and even information about themselves.

  • Suicidality or self-harm — People with DID often report experiencing suicidality. Some experience self-harming tendencies. Thoughts of suicidality or self-harm may be a result of poor coping skills or overwhelming feelings.

What are some of the most common causes of dissociative identity disorder?

There are a few causes of dissociative identity disorder as understood by experts. Each of these factors may increase the odds of developing DID, or cause it directly. The most common causes of DID are as follows:

  • Physical abuse during childhood
  • Sexual abuse during childhood
  • Experiencing the effects of a natural disaster
  • Experiencing combat

What can a licensed clinical therapist do for someone who has dissociative identity disorder? 

Getting treatment for dissociative identity disorder is essential. Help from a licensed clinical therapist can improve a person’s coping skills, reduce anxiety, and manage other symptoms. The most common form of treatment for someone with DID is psychotherapy. Evidence-based interventions for trauma-related disorders (like eye movement desensitization and reprocessing [EMDR] therapy) and medication can also help. 

Lightfully can help you manage the symptoms of your dissociative identity disorder

Our mission at Lightfully is to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients. We believe in using a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. We have experience working with various mental health disorders, including DID. That’s why we’re confident that we can help you manage your mental health disorder symptoms over time.

Lightfully offers multiple levels of care to both adults and teens: Residential Treatment, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), also referred to as our Day Treatment Program. We also offer a Virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) for adults. We’ll meet you where you are and will create a personalized treatment plan designed to prevent crises.  

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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