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Multiple Personality Disorder


Overview :

The precise nature of DID (MPD) as well as its relationship to other mental disorders is still a subject of debate. Some researchers think that DID may be a relatively recent development in western society. It may be a culture-specific syndrome found in western society, caused primarily by both childhood abuse and unspecified long-term societal changes. Unlike depression or anxiety disorders, which have been recognized, in some form, for centuries, the earliest cases of persons reporting DID symptoms were not recorded until the 1790s. Most were considered medical oddities or curiosities until the late 1970s, when increasing numbers of cases were reported in the United States. Psychiatrists are still debating whether DID was previously misdiagnosed and underreported, or whether it is currently over-diagnosed. Because childhood trauma is a factor in the development of DID, some doctors think it may be a variation of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). DID and PTSD are conditions where dissociation is a prominent mechanism. The female to male ratio for DID is about 9:1, but the reasons for the gender imbalance are unclear. Some have attributed the imbalance in reported cases to higher rates of abuse of female children; and some to the possibility that males with DID are underreported because they might be in prison for violent crimes.

The most distinctive feature of DID is the formation and emergence of alternate personality states, or alters. Patients with DID experience their alters as distinctive individuals possessing different names, histories, and personality traits. It is not unusual for DID patients to have alters of different genders, sexual orientations, ages, or nationalities. Some patients have been reported with alters that are not even human; alters have been animals, or even aliens from outer space. The average DID patient has between two and 10 alters, but some have been reported with over one hundred.




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