Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) (Causes)

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Why some people develop DID is not entirely understood, but they frequently report having experienced severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during childhood. Though the accuracy of such accounts is disputed, they are often confirmed by objective evidence. Individuals with DID may also have post-traumatic symptoms (nightmares, flashbacks, and startle responses) or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Several studies suggest that DID is more common among close biological relatives of persons who also have the disorder than in the general population. As this once rarely reported disorder has grown more common, the diagnosis has become controversial. Some believe that because DID patients are highly suggestible, their symptoms are at least partly iatrogenic— that is, prompted by their therapists' probing. Brain imaging studies, however, have corroborated identity transitions.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). Last reviewed 10/10/2008

Sources:

  • American Psychiatric Association
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • Handbook of Psychology, Vol. 8 (John Wiley)