Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a condition in which a person displays multiple distinct identities or personalities (known as alter egos or alters), each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment (as these identities recurrently take control of the individual’s behavior. In order for this diagnoses to be made, at least two distinct identities or personality statesmust be identified.
Formerly called multiple personality disorder (MPD) and often referred to as split personality disorder, statistics show that this disorder affects about 3% of patients in psychiatric hospitals occurring in females nine times more often than in males.
Signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder include:
- Lapses in memory (dissociation), particularly of significant life events.
- Experiencing blackouts in time.
- Being frequently accused of lying when they do not believe they are lying.
- Finding items in one’s possession but not recalling how they got them.
- Encountering people who they do not know but who seem to know them.
- Being called names other than their own.
- Finding their own written work in handwriting other than their own.
- Hearing voices inside their head besides their own.
- Not recognizing themselves in the mirror.
- Feeling unreal (derealization).
- Feeling like they are watching themselves move through life rather than living their own life.
- Feeling like more than one person.