Originally posted on Marci, Mental Health, & More:
- Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is rare– Actually 1-3% of the general population meet the full criteria for DID. Making it as common as Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia. Unfortunately, even though DID is fairly common, research about it is grossly underfunded. (The National Institute of Mental Health has yet to fund a single treatment study on DID.)
- It’s obvious when someone has DID- People with DID are rarely the sensationalized image portrayed in the media. Also people with DID spend an average of seven years in the mental health system before being diagnosed, how is that even possible if it’s obvious. They also have co-morbid disorders, making it harder to identify DID. They often struggle with severe treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders and substance abuse.
- People with DID have distinct personalities- Instead of distinct personalities, people with DID have different states. Sometimes described as “having different ways of being themselves, which we all do to some extent, but people with DID cannot always recall what they do or say while in their different states.” And they may act quite differently in different states.Also, “There are many disorders that involve changes in state.” For instance, people with borderline personality disorder may go “from relatively calm to extremely angry with little provocation.” People with panic disorder may go “from an even emotional state to extremely panicked.” “However, patients with those disorders recall what they do and say in these different states, in contrast to the occasional amnesia that DID patients experience.”
- Treatment makes DID worse- Some critics of DID believe that treatment exacerbates the disorder. Results from studies revealed that individuals do get better. Specifically improvements in dissociative symptoms, depression, distress, anxiety, PTSD and work and social functioning.
- Therapists further develop and “reify” (regard them as real or concrete) the self-states.- Quite the opposite, therapists try to create an “inner communication and cooperation among self-states,” Therapists also help patients integrate their states, which is a process that happens over time.
- Only people with DID dissociate.- People dissociate in response to trauma or other overwhelming situations such as intense pain or anxiety.
- Hypnosis is used to access or explore hidden memories - Some therapists used to believe that hypnosis could help clients retrieve accurate memories (like memories of abuse). Now, compelling research has shown that “experiences recalled under hypnosis can feel very true,” even though the person never experienced these events. All the reputable professional associations that provide training in hypnosis “educated therapists that they should never use hypnosis to try and facilitate recall of memory.” So if a therapist says they use hypnosis to explore memories, Brand underscored the importance of obtaining information about their trauma training.
Information taken from Dispelling Myths about Dissociative Identity Disorder