dissociative identity disorder


dissociative identity disorder

formerly called  multiple personality disorder 

      a rare mental disorder in which two or more independent and distinct personality systems develop in the same individual. Each of these personalities may alternately inhabit the person's conscious awareness to the exclusion of the others. In some cases all of the personalities remain mutually unaware of the others' existence. In a more common form of the disorder, there is one personality that basically dominates the person's conscious awareness. This personality cannot remember what happens during the time a subordinate personality is in control (see amnesia), but a subordinate personality may be aware of the dominant personality's existence and actions and may even comment upon and criticize the dominant personality as if it were another person. Usually the various personalities differ markedly from one another in outlook, temperament, and body language and give themselves different first names. The various personalities may also exhibit different handwriting and electroencephalogram readings and perform differently on projective tests.

      This condition is extremely rare, and only a few hundred cases have been reported. Dissociative identity disorder is widely viewed as resulting from dissociative mental processes—i.e., the splitting off from conscious awareness and control of thoughts (thought), feelings (feeling), memories (memory), and other mental components in response to situations that are painful, disturbing, or somehow unacceptable to the person experiencing them. The failure to form a distinct personality can thus be seen as a way of coping with or escaping from inner conflict, which in turn is frequently triggered by some trauma experienced early in life, such as being abused as a child.

      Treatment is aimed at integrating the disparate personalities back into a single and unified personality. To do this, the dominant personality must gradually be made aware of the existence of the others, a process that is usually possible only after the trauma that originally caused the dissociation is brought to conscious awareness and thus defused.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • dissociative identity disorder — n multiple personality disorder * * * [DSM IV] a dissociative disorder characterized by the existence in an individual of two or more distinct personalities, each having unique memories, characteristic behavior, and social relationships. At least …   Medical dictionary

  • Dissociative identity disorder — Not to be confused with Dissocial personality disorder. Split personality redirects here. For other uses, see Split personality (disambiguation). Dissociative Identity Disorder Classification and external resources ICD 10 F44.8 …   Wikipedia

  • dissociative identity disorder — noun a rare psychotic disorder in which the patient develops several distinct, independent personalities which emerge at different times; multiple personality disorder. Abbrev.: DID Also, dissociative disorder …   Australian English dictionary

  • dissociative identity disorder — noun A mental disorder characterized by the presence of two or more personality states or distinct identities that repeatedly take control of a persons behavior. Syn: multiple personality disorder …   Wiktionary

  • dissociative identity disorder — noun Date: 1993 multiple personality disorder …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder — n. (Psychology) DID, multiple personality, split personality, disorder in which someone believes that they are at least two different and independent individuals …   English contemporary dictionary

  • dissociative identity disorder — noun : multiple personality …   Useful english dictionary

  • Dissociative identity disorder in popular culture — Dissociative identity disorder (DID, also referred to as multiple personality disorder or MPD) has been popularized in many works of fiction throughout the world, most often in murder mysteries as a red herring plot device. This article provides… …   Wikipedia

  • Dissociative identity disorder in fiction — Dissociative identity disorder (DID, also referred to as multiple personality disorder) has been popularized in many works of fiction throughout the world. The topic has attracted the attention of professional scholars. [… …   Wikipedia

  • Dissociative disorder — Classification and external resources ICD 10 F44 ICD 9 300.12 …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.