Dissociative Identity Disorder | Teen Ink

Dissociative Identity Disorder

April 27, 2017
By CameliaGil BRONZE, Houston, Texas
CameliaGil BRONZE, Houston, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is described as “a disorder characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states” by the Mayo Clinic. Essentially, this means that a person with DID will have more than one personality at times; the personality, or alter, you talk to may be there one second and gone the next, having been replaced by another consciousness. While Dissociative Identity Disorder has much evidence supporting its authenticity, many still believe it is a false disorder. Dissociative Identity Disorder is legitimate. The opposing side’s main and virtually only argument is that DID is a result of its gross exposure in media back in the 70’s, and without that exposure, it wouldn’t be here today. I disagree.

People who do not believe that DID is a real disorder base their claim on the infamous “Sybil”, a book turned into mini series that surrounded a woman with dozens of distinct personalities. This is because cases of DID exploded after its entrance into the media. It was then that the sociocognitive theory came to be; the sociocognitive theory states that DID is iatrogenic, or therapy/media-induced. This means that either intentionally or subconsciously, people create their symptoms of DID and/or are influenced by their therapist to act like a person with DID. Sybil was a case in which people believed this was quite apparent, since Sybil’s therapist started to force her to act more “crazy” to continue getting the recognition she was getting for having this rare disorder. Although this was sadly the case, most cases of DID are not iatrogenic, but it is indeed possible for some people diagnosed with DID to not actually have DID. The truth is that most professionals can conclude what cases of DID are real and which are not, but no one is perfect. Sybil was a case in which a woman actually suffered from DID, but as her story was shared, she started to feel as if she had to over exaggerate her disorder to continue to get the attention she liked. She and her disorder, with the help of her therapist, manifested, and it resulted in her not truly depicting her life with DID. This does not prove that all cases of DID are false; like anything, DID can be falsified. This is not means for discreditation of DID.

Another interesting thing that DID does is that it biologically alters you. It is a proven fact that people with DID have a smaller hippocampus, and can be found to have different eyeglass prescriptions and allergies. Things that can also drastically differ from alter to alter are their voice, handwriting, knowledge level, known languages, and more. This is another reason why professionals can easily tell when cases of malingering and factitious presentation occur. When a case is malingered, it is usually faked for personal gain, usually to avoid incarceration, financial gain, etc. When a case is a factitious presentation, the person does it, knowingly or not, for a personal or emotional reason. Only 2-14% of DID cases are like this, unlike the general personality disorder percentage, which is 7-17%. Since less than 14% of cases are artificial, and there is medical action that can be taken to provide evidence for DID's validity, it’s clear that DID is nothing but true.
People with DID show symptoms before they enter therapy. That is the main reason they get help at all. This is why when people say that patients with DID only develop their disorder from their psychiatrists, it is not correct. People with DID show symptoms far before they contact professionals. Since this is the case, a lot of times the people are admitted by their friends and family because they are the ones who witness their breakdowns. Another thing that disproves this myth is the fact that the cause of DID is childhood trauma, and the people with DID have experienced many horrific things to be they way they are. The trauma didn’t appear from thin air the second they went into therapy. So no, DID symptoms don’t start in therapy. They have always been there.

Dissociative Identity Disorder was at large, back when Sybil became mainstream. When discovered that her case was mostly “tampered” with and iatrogenic, many doubted the existence about DID in general. This is not true; DID is a real disorder and has much evidence supporting its existence. There is too much proof that says DID is real, and for that, there is no doubt but to believe the thousands of people it affects.

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