Dissociative disorders usually develop as a reaction to trauma and help keep difficult memories at bay. Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a mental illness associated with post-traumatic stress due to severe physical, sexual, or emotional abuse during early childhood and is characterized by the presence of two or more compartmentalized identity states. Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, the distinct identities are often accompanied by changes in behavior, memory, and thinking. Each self-state may have its own physical characteristics, name, memories, accent, gender, and other traits.
DID symptoms can cause significant issues in social settings, at work, or in other areas of functioning. Suicide attempts and other self-injurious behavior are common among people with DID.
With treatment, primarily focusing on behavioral therapies like cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), most individuals with DID are able to manage their symptoms and live meaningful and productive lives. Medications may be beneficial to treat coexisting conditions, such as depression, however there are not currently medications to treat DID.« Back to Glossary Index