What is Dissociative Identity Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people find it difficult to maintain a difference between reality and non-reality, and they can easily become disconnected from reality. Today, we’ll discuss what is dissociative identity disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder? 

DID (dissociative identity disorder) is a mental health condition that makes a person feel disconnected from reality and difficult to track between actions, thoughts, surroundings, memories, and identity. People with DID conditions could leave a reality that is not healthy and involuntary, and it becomes difficult for them to function in routine life.

DID condition develops as a reaction and response to the traumatic event and it holds the difficult memories at bay. The symptoms of DID vary from alternative identity to amnesia depending on the type of DID condition a person has. A stressful time could aggravate the condition and it makes it more obvious.

Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder 

Some of the main symptoms of dissociative identity disorder depending on its type are as follows;

  • Mental health issues like suicidal thoughts and behaviors, anxiety, and depression
  • Difficult to manage professional and emotional stress
  • Great problems and stress in your work, relationship, and other areas of life
  • Blurred sense and image of reality
  • Unreal and distorted perception of things and people around you
  • Detachment from yourself and your emotions
  • Losing memory for a certain time, personal information, people, and event

Types of Dissociative Identity Disorder 

DSM-5 (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) outlines three main types of dissociative identity disorders, and they’re as follows;

Dissociative Amnesia

The main symptom of dissociative amnesia condition is losing memory ranging from severe to normal forgetfulness, and it is something that medical science doesn’t explain. You don’t remember the information about your life relevant to certain people and events, especially about the traumatic time.

It can be specific to a certain event in a particular time like a war zone and intense combat, and it rarely comprises of losing memory about yourself completely. Sometimes, you would find yourself wandering and traveling away from your life in a state of dissociative fatigue. The episode of dissociative amnesia could occur suddenly and would last for minutes, hours, days, weeks, or years.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity disorder also goes by the name of multiple personality disorder, and the condition makes you feel like switching to alternate identities. You would feel the presence of two or more people talking or living inside your head, and those alternate identities have possessed your thoughts.

Those identities aren’t random. They have separate characteristics in terms of personal history, unique names, eyeglasses, physical appearance, mannerisms, gender, voices, and other details that differentiate a person. People with DID conditions experience dissociative fatigue and dissociative amnesia.

Depersonalize Derealization Disorder

It comprises an ongoing sense of detachment from yourself and noticing your thoughts from a distance like watching a movie as a depersonalized state. Things and people around you may seem dreamlike, foggy, and detached; the world would feel unreal and time seems like slowed down. Such symptoms can be disturbing and they may last for a few moments, come and go, months, or years.

Causes of Dissociative Identity Disorder 

Our mind develops DID condition as a way to deal with the traumatic event. The condition often develops among children that have experienced unpredictable or frightening environments or long-term emotional/sexual abuse. Stressful life events like natural disasters or war could cause an episode of DID.

Childhood is a state where you’re developing your personal identity. It’s easier for a child to step out of himself/herself and experience the trauma, whether it’s happening to you or the other person. While doing so, the child learns to dissociate him/herself in order to experience the trauma and uses this technique as a stress managing mechanism throughout his life.

Risk Factors 

People that have long-term exposure to emotional, sexual, and physical abuse in their childhood, and they’re at a greater risk of developing DID conditions. However, adults and children that have exposure to traumatic events like torture, kidnapping, disaster, medical procedures, and natural disasters, and they’re also at the risk of developing this condition.

Treatment of Dissociative Identity Disorder 

Some of the main treatment plans for dissociative identity disorder are as follows;


It is talk therapy that focuses on the event that triggers DID. The goal of therapeutic treatment is to mix the two separate personalities and identities into one personality in order to deal with the trigger points. The treatment involves adding family members to the therapy session.


Hypnosis allows you to access your repressed memories and control some of the problematic behaviors that are relevant to DID. It also helps you to fuse two separate identities into one form.

Adjunctive Therapy

It is a movement and art therapy that makes people develop a connection with different parts of their minds, and what parts they can shut off to deal with the trauma.

Conclusion: What is Dissociative Identity Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is dissociative identity disorder; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that DID could badly impact your life. If you know someone exhibiting such symptoms, then you should refer him/her to the nearest psychologist.