How Is Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosed
Making the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder takes time. It’s estimated that individuals with dissociative disorders have spent seven years in the mental health system prior to accurate diagnosis. This is common, because the list of symptoms that cause a person with a dissociative disorder to seek treatment is very similar to those of many other psychiatric diagnoses. In fact, many people who have dissociative disorders also have coexisting diagnoses of borderline or other personality disorders, depression, and anxiety.
The DSM-5 provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:
Whats The Difference Between Dissociative Identity Disorder And Schizophrenia
Sometimes, people confuse dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, and schizophrenia. Schizophrenia does mean split mind, but the name was meant to describe the split from reality that you experience during an episode of psychosis, as well as changes in thoughts, emotions, and other functions. Dissociative identity disorder, on the other hand, does cause a split or fragmented understanding of a persons sense of themselves.
Dissociative identity disorder is really more about fragmented identities than many different personalities that develop on their own. Most people see different parts of their being as part of the whole person. For people who experience DID, identity fragments may have very different characteristics, including their own history, identity, and mannerisms. A key part of DID is dissociationfeeling detached to the world around you. People who experience DID may have many unexplainable gaps in their memory, forget information theyre already learned, or have difficulties recalling things theyve said or done. Unlike portrayals of DID on TV or in movies, DID may not be obvious to others, and it can take a lot of time to come to the diagnosis.
Where can I learn more?
About the author
Schizophrenia: Early Warning Signs
Early detection and treatment of conditions such as heart disease and cancer have improved survival rates and quality of life for people who suffer from these conditions. A new approach involves identifying people who show minor symptoms of psychosis, such as unusual thought content, paranoia, odd communication, delusions, problems at school or work, and a decline in social functioningwhich are coined prodromal symptomsand following these individuals over time to determine which of them develop a psychotic disorder and which factors best predict such a disorder. A number of factors have been identified that predict a greater likelihood that prodromal individuals will develop a psychotic disorder: genetic risk , recent deterioration in functioning, high levels of unusual thought content, high levels of suspicion or paranoia, poor social functioning, and a history of substance abuse . Further research will enable a more accurate prediction of those at greatest risk for developing schizophrenia, and thus to whom early intervention efforts should be directed.
You May Like: Fear Of Storms Phobia Name
Multiple Identities Delusions Or Hallucinations
Some people confuse the multiple identities of DID for the delusions or hallucinations of schizophrenia, but they arent the same.
To break down the difference between these symptoms, lets define them:
- Delusions. False beliefs that are not based in reality. If you have delusions, you believe them despite evidence to the contrary, even if everyone else believes otherwise. There are many types of delusions, including grandiose, bizarre, persecutory, and somatic .
- Hallucinations. False perceptions when someone sees, hears, or feels something thats not actually happening. These sensory experiences feel real, but theyre not.
- Multiple identities. Also called alternate identities or alters, these occur when someone has more than one personality state. This alternate personality may appear to function separately from another. Alternate identities may have distinct behaviors, memories, expressions, languages, ages, and more. For instance, an alter of a 30-year-old female could be a 12-year-old male.
Probing Question: How Do Schizophrenia And Did Differ
“What will I have for dinner?”
“Is it going to rain later?”
“I wonder what she meant by that.”
Questions or comments like these silently passing through our minds reflect how most of us think they’re normal. When the comments heard internally are the voices of other people, however, then psychiatrists suspect schizophrenia.
Among the myths surrounding schizophrenia, one of the most persistent is that it involves a “split personality,” two separate and conflicting identities sharing one brain. A National Alliance on Mental Illness survey found that 64 percent of the public shares this misconception.
“It’s an extremely common misunderstanding,” says Randon Welton, assistant professor of psychiatry at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. “It’s based on the name. If you go to the Greek roots of the wordschizein, meaning splitting and phren, meaning mindyou have “split brain” or “split mind.” However, the intended reference is to a split between rationality and emotions, not a split within a personality, explains Welton.
Split personality, more properly, is an old name for multiple personality disorder, which is itself an outdated name for dissociative identity disorder , an officially recognized but still controversial diagnosis. Welton notes that DID came to the public’s attention following the release of books and films such as The Three Faces of Eve and Sybil, accounts of women who developed multiple, distinct personalities following severe abuse as children.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Meaning Of Phobia
How Might I Experience Dissociation
Dissociation can be experienced in lots of different ways.
Psychiatrists have tried to group these experiences and give them names. This can help doctors make a diagnosis of a specific dissociative disorder. But you can have any of these dissociative experiences even if you don’t have a diagnosed dissociative disorder.
Having difficulty remembering personal information
- have gaps in your life where you can’t remember anything that happened
- not be able to remember information about yourself or about things that happened in your life.
A doctor or psychiatrist might call these experiences dissociative amnesia.
Travelling to a different location or taking on a new identity
You might travel to a different location and take on a new identity for a short time .
A doctor or psychiatrist might call these experiences dissociative fugue.
Feeling like the world around you is unreal
- feel as though the world around you is unreal
- see objects changing in shape, size or colour
- see the world as ‘lifeless’ or ‘foggy’
- feel as if other people are robots .
A doctor or psychiatrist might call these experiences derealisation.
Feeling like you’re looking at yourself from the outside
A doctor or psychiatrist might call these experiences depersonalisation.
Feeling your identity shift and change
A doctor or psychiatrist might call these experiences identity alteration.
Difficulty defining what kind of person you are
When Might I Dissociate
- For many people, dissociation is a natural response to trauma that they can’t control. It could be a response to a one-off traumatic event or ongoing trauma and abuse. You can read more on our page about the causes of dissociative disorders.
- Some people choose to dissociate as a way of calming down or focusing on a task, or as part of a religious or cultural ritual.
- Or you may experience dissociation as a side effect of alcohol or some medication, or when coming off some medication.
Recommended Reading: How Long Do Depressive Episodes Last Bipolar
What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you arent happy with your treatment you can:
- ask for a second opinion,
- ask an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
- contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service , or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below:
How do I ask for a second opinion?
If you arent happy with your diagnosis or treatment, speak to your doctor. If they dont offer you any other treatment options, you can ask for a second opinion. This is where another doctor will assess you and suggest diagnoses or treatment. You dont have a legal right to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to one.
What is advocacy?
An advocate can help you understand your rights to treatment from the NHS. They can also help you be fully involved in decisions about your care. An advocate is separate from the NHS.
You can search online to see if there are any local advocacy services in your area. Or the Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service could search for you. You can find their details at the bottom of this page.
What is the Patient Advice and Liaison Service ?
The Patient Advice and Liaison Service at your NHS trust can try and help you with any problems or issues you have. You can find your local PALS details at: www.nhs.uk/Service-Search/Patient-advice-and-liaison-services-/LocationSearch/363.
How can I make a complaint?
You can find more information about:
- Second Opinions by clicking here.
- Advocacy by clicking here.
- Complaints about the NHS or Social services by clicking here.
Schizophrenia Vs Dissociative Identity Disorder
Do you think that Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder are the same? The answer is NO! The public often holds a misbelief where a schizophrenic patient switches between multiple personalities. In fact, ONLY DID patients have a split personality. Today we will explain the differences between these two distinct mental disorders!
You May Like: Pristiq Information
If You’re Feeling Suicidal
If you have thoughts about taking your life, it’s important you ask someone for help.
It’s probably difficult for you to see it at this time, but you’re not alone or beyond help.
There are people you can talk to who want to help:
- speak to a friend, family member or someone you trust, as they may be able to help you calm down and find some breathing space
- call the Samaritans free 24-hour support service on 116 123
- go to your nearest A& E and tell the staff how you’re feeling
Dissociative Disorder Vs Schizophrenia
Dissociative disorder and Schizophrenia and two different and quite serious mental illnesses. But you must be asking if they are so different why do people confuse between them? The reason is quite simple and obvious.
Dissociative identity disorder was formally referred to as Multiple personality disorder. While on Schizophrenia also translated to split mind. However, a Split mind does not refer to the division of mind. It refers to the separation of ones and from reality.
Consequently, with a lack of proper knowledge and assumptions people associate dissociate disorder with schizophrenia. People may even consider it as same. However, this is far from reality. Both of these are quite serious mental illnesses and also quite rare ones. We shall be further clarifying this difference later on in the sample essay.
Moving we shall be discussing the definition of both these concepts in the next section of the sample essay.
Read Also: Sex Differences In Depression
Can Dissociative Identity Disorder Be Prevented
Theres no way to prevent DID. But identifying the signs as early in life as possible and seeking treatment can help you manage symptoms. Parents, caregivers and teachers should watch for signs in young children. Treatment soon after episodes of abuse or trauma may prevent DID from progressing.
Treatment can also help identify triggers that cause personality or identity changes. Common triggers include stress or substance abuse. Managing stress and avoiding drugs and alcohol may help reduce the frequency of different alters controlling your behavior.
What If I Am A Carer Friend Or Relative
What support can I get?
If you are a carer, friend or family member of someone living with a dissociative disorder you can get support.
You can get peer support through carer support groups. You can search for local groups in your area on the following websites:
If you need more practical support, you can ask your local authority for a carers assessment. You might be able to get support from your local authority.
As a carer you should be involved in decisions about your relatives care planning. But you can only be involved if your relative agrees to this. If they dont agree, their healthcare professionals cant share information about them with you.
You can find out more information about:
- Carers assessment and support planning by clicking here.
- Confidentiality and information sharing For carers, friends and relatives by clicking here.
- Benefits for carers by clicking here.
How can I supporting the person I care for?
You might find it easier to support someone with a dissociative disorder if you understand their symptoms, treatments and self-care options. You can use this to support and encourage them to get help and stay well.
You should also be aware of what you can do if you are worried about their mental state. Keep the details of their mental health team or GP handy and discuss a crisis plan with them.
You can find out more information about:
Recommended Reading: What Are The Three Stages Of Schizophrenia
What Youll Learn To Do: Explain Symptoms And Potential Causes Of Schizophrenic And Dissociative Disorders
Figure 1. Speaking in word salad, or random words strung together without meaning, is sometimes characteristic of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a severe disorder characterized by a complete breakdown in ones ability to function in life it often requires hospitalization. People with schizophrenia experience hallucinations and delusions, and they have extreme difficulty regulating their emotions and behavior. Thinking is incoherent and disorganized, behavior is extremely bizarre, emotions are flat, and motivation to engage in most basic life activities is lacking.
Schizophrenia is not to be confused with multiple personality disorder, which is technically termed dissociative identity disorder. The main characteristic of dissociative disorders is that people become dissociated from their sense of self, resulting in memory and identity disturbances. Dissociative disorders listed in the DSM-5 include dissociative amnesia, depersonalization/derealization disorder, and dissociative identity disorder. A person with dissociative amnesia is unable to recall important personal information, often after a stressful or traumatic experience. In this section, youll learn about the differences between schizophrenia and these disorders.
Further Reading & Useful Contacts
UnrealUnreal reaches out to people of lived experience of depersonalisation and derealisation disorder and their carers and families and seks to raise awareness. They provide support and to promote involvement through providing up to date information, signposting, networking, the sharing of experiences and by celebrating success. The provide information and resources and peer support groups.
Contact form on website: Website:www.unrealuk.org
Clinic for Dissociative StudiesThis organisation has lots of information on dissociative disorders on their website. They also provide care and treatment for dissociative disorders. They can accept referrals from the NHS. They offer general information about dissociative disorders but do not run a helpline.
Telephone: 020 7794 1655
Read Also: What Is Apiphobia
Causes Of Dissociative Disorder
The causes of dissociative disorders are not well understood.
They may be related to a previous traumatic experience, or a tendency to develop more physical than psychological symptoms when stressed or distressed.
Someone with a dissociative disorder may have experienced physical, sexual or emotional abuse during childhood.
Some people dissociate after experiencing war, kidnapping or even an invasive medical procedure.
Switching off from reality is a normal defence mechanism that helps the person cope during a traumatic time.
It’s a form of denial, as if “this is not happening to me”.
It becomes a problem when the environment is no longer traumatic but the person still acts and lives as if it is, and has not dealt with or processed the event.
The Symptoms Are Very Different
Research from mental health charity Rethink Mental Illness found that 50% of people still believe having schizophrenia means you have a “split” personality, when in fact this isn’t true.
When they are experiencing symptoms, people with schizophrenia may hallucinate, or have what is known as a thought disorder.
Muller explained that this means at the times when they are psychotic, their thinking is nonsensical.
“It is affected by their past, so it is not purely nonsensical, and it does often relate to something personal,” Muller said.
Hearing is the most common hallucination, but there may be visual hallucinations, he said.
“A thought disorder is the difficulty to be able to think clearly,” he said. “There may be delusions, where they believe that something is a truth that is not a truth. Being under a false impression that feels utterly and absolutely true it is reality in their subjective experience.”
Read Also: Does Pristiq Help With Anxiety
Beware Of Biased Advice
Many imperfect decisions occur in response to an imperfect piece of advice that you choose to act on. This advice often comes from a biased party.
For example, we are often encouraged to buy something that we supposedly need:
- Protect your skin from harmful UV rays by using a special lotion.
- Fortify your health by taking multivitamins.
- Connect with your friends by sending them elaborate gifts.
- Brighten your weekend by consuming a delicious pastry.
- Become more productive by getting a faster computer.
However, most purchases are unnecessary.
Some, such as the sunscreen, do have legitimate benefits when used properly. Others, such as multivitamins, only make a difference for a small group of people.
Advertisers of those benefits inevitably want to narrow your focus in order to overstate the importance of their product. They frequently present it as the only solution to your problem, whether real or imaginary.
There are other sources of imperfect advice. Politicians also frequently want us to focus on a particular big picture, to the exclusion of the alternatives.
Even loving parents can be guilty of the same. They can advise their children to pick a career path that is safe and respectable, based on their big picture that in life one has to make a living. A child may disagree, however, based on another big picture that ones life has to have meaning and fulfillment.