The Multiple Personality Disorder is a condition where two or more different identities are present in an individual, and they take control over him or her alternately. The split personalities always have power over the person in such a way that the patient feels as if he is a passenger in his body and not the driver.
For a long time, the condition has been enigmatic to many experts. The symptoms tend to be similar to other psychiatric problems and are very subtle. It takes at least seven years to identify a condition as the MPD. In today’s world, an identity possessing someone in the form of a supernatural being of a sort is perceived as a regular practice; either cultural or religious (Mischel 10). The Multiple Personality Disorder is different in a way it allows the inner "being" take control over the person, and the border between the two notions is very hard to notice. The situation can be a dangerous path with many obstacles ahead, and not only for the one who is forced to follow it. The individuals with this disorder also suffer personality disorder, depression, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks, and amnesia. The personalities inside a person have their memory, patterns of behavior, and relationships that control their behavior. The MPD makes one’s nearest suffer, and the fact the patient does not understand what happens to them makes it even harder to communicate.
Being often caused by a severe trauma that was experienced by an individual, this disorder does not have a cure. The treatment involves movement therapy, hypnotherapy, and psychotherapy, with no medication required. But staying committed to what can be done can become one’s way out of the labyrinth the MPD is.
The term refers to a disorder where two or more different identities or personalities are present in an individual, and they take control of the person alternately. The split personalities always have power over the individual in such a way that the patient feels as if he is a passenger in his body and not the driver. The personalities always have a particular age, sex, or race of their own. Identifying oneself as one personality or another can last for seconds, minutes, or even days. The condition has proven to be complicated to experts. The individual that suffers such a condition can reach a point where they tend to fail to remember important personal information, which can be termed as mere forgetfulness. There are also variations in the person’s memory due to the alternating split personalities.
This condition is often caused by a severe trauma that was experienced by an individual. This type of trauma may be repetitive, physical, sexual, or concerning emotional abuse during childhood. The person tends to dissociate himself with situations that are too traumatic to handle as a mechanism of defense against that trauma, and it makes the individual create several personalities to cope with their experience. They create one or more personalities that do not have such problem and are likely to develop a personality that is stuck at the age when the trauma took place (Weaver et al. 2). This condition is also known as the Dissociative Identity Disorder. The patient in this condition is mainly not aware of the split personalities and often does not recall what happened during their laps in time.
Symptoms of Multiple Personality
- The existence of two or more personalities in one individual, with one of them always present. These personalities tend to have their memory, patterns of behavior, and relationships that control their behavior.
- A tendency to experience depression, with most ending up having suicidal thoughts.
- Dissociative amnesia, i.e., people forget critical information that is personal.
- Phobias and panic attacks caused by flashbacks.
- Psychotic symptoms (like visual hallucinations).
- Persecution or sabotage of oneself and violence against oneself as well as others.
Other signs of this disorder include an individual not remembering what happened before, referring to oneself as ‘we,' drugs or alcohol abuse, and sleepwalking (Todorov et al. 540). Children with this disorder always end up being truant, withdrawn, show fluctuating moods, fears and abilities, and have difficulties at school.
Identification of the Disorder
For an individual to be diagnosed with the condition, the person has to have stayed in the mental health system up to seven years. This is because the symptoms tend to be similar to other psychiatric problems and are very subtle (Cloninger and Svrakic 541). The individuals with this disorder also suffer personality disorder, depression, and anxiety. The criteria for the definite diagnosis are:
- An existence of two or more split personalities with different patterns of how they relate and perceive the environment.
- An occurrence of amnesia.
- Experiencing trouble in functioning and acting in some major areas of life due to the disorder.
- The disturbance experienced is abnormal for religious and cultural practices.
- The symptoms are not the effects of abuse of substances or brought about by a medical condition.
According to statistics, the rate of the disorder is 0.01% to 1% of the clinical population. In the general population, the rate is 1% to 5%. Females have the highest diagnosis with a ratio of 9:1.
Significance to the World
In today’s world, an identity possessing someone in the form of a supernatural being of a sort is perceived as a regular practice — either cultural or religious (Mischel 5). When the possession gets out of hand, it becomes unwanted, leads to impairment and distress to the individual, or is not found acceptable within the religious and cultural practices, and then it is termed as a disorder. The Multiple Personality Disorder allows the inner take control over the person. This is a dangerous path with many obstacles ahead, and not only for the one who is forced to follow it. The MPD makes one’s nearest suffer, and the fact the patient does not understand what happens to them makes it even harder to communicate.
Herschel Walker, a retired NFL star, has been suffering from this condition and receiving treatment for the past eight years. He published a book that narrated the struggles he had with this disorder and the suicidal attempts he made (Castelli 14). One of his alter-personalities was an extremely strong human that did not feel lonely. The other alters helped him to rise to fame. He realized that these split personalities are a part of this disorder, which he was diagnosed with in adulthood.
This disorder does not have a cure. In the long run, treatment can help a great deal an individual who is committed to the process indeed. The treatment involves movement therapy, hypnotherapy, and psychotherapy, with no drug therapy involved (Friedman and Kern 729). On the other hand, the disorders occurring together with this condition, such as depression and abuse of substances, can be treated can lead to general improvement. These methods are always performed along with psychotherapy.