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Multiple Personality Disorder - Term Paper Sample

7 pages
1804 words
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Term paper
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Multiple personality disorder also referred to as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) refers to the condition where an individual exhibits two or more personality characteristics, and each has a unique way of determining how an individual perceives or interacts with the environment (Beck, Davis, & Freeman, 2015). Moreover, it can be considered as a severe personality condition in which two or more distinct traits or identities take control of an individual (Cloninger, & Svrakic, 2016). The personalities identified have the routinely take charge of an individual in an alternating manner resulting to associated memory loss rated above the normal forgetfulness of a normal human being and in most cases independent of the medical condition or substance abuse.

Individuals with multiple personality disorder, are in most cases informed of some of the activities they engaged in but fails to remember any change in their actions. They tend to discover productions, objects, or writings that in their mental position they cannot account recognize. In many cases, these individuals refer to themselves as 'we' that is from the first person plural or 'he/she' which is the third person. The condition is severe and at times results in events of amnesia that occurs between early adolescence and mid-childhood.

The process of dissociation has been regarded as a complicated mental procedure resulting into an absence of connection in a persons feelings, memories, actions or sense of identity. An example of this is a circumstance where one is faced with the traumatic events; they tend to lose connection of the current condition making them lose pain, fear or the conditions of the uncertain circumstances due to the creation of a memory gap that completely masks the experience.

Notably, of the entire global population, about 1% is said to be suffering from multiple personality disorder. Also, females experience more suffering and traumatic events at a tender age in ratio 10: 1 compared to males. In America for example, 9.1% of the population is suffering from the multiple personality disorder, and this is a bigger portion of the population (Kruisselbrink 2013).

Causes of Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple personality disorder is a unique personality condition that does not have a single cause but several emanating from life experience and circumstances that an individual has been engaged in the past. Some of the circumstances are unbearable, traumatic and therefore destabilizes the mental condition of as an individual. Some of the identified causes include;

Development Trauma

The traumatic historical experience of the childhood that interferes with the personality development resulting into the condition of divisiveness in the cognitive areas (Dorahy et al., 2012). Traumatic experiences may result from sexual abuse like rape, or any other unforgettable occurrence in an individual life that is triggered by the act of observing something familiar in an environment or any common action. These feelings tend to interfere with the mental stability of an individual resulting in consistently changing moods of bitterness or happiness. Trauma results into stress that might ultimately make an individual to be engaged in other acts of drug abuse and worsening the mental condition.

Notably, individuals diagnosed with multiple personality disorders usually report the fact that they have been subjected to sexual or physical abuse especially between mid-childhood and adolescence as well as some serious traumatic events or medically related illness. Compared to those with mental illness, they report lots of historical, psychological trauma. Severe psychological, sexual or physical trauma has been considered as the dominant cause of trauma its development. The post-traumatic stress in adults may as well become multiple personality disorder occurring in children mainly as a result of consistent use of imagination as the major form of coping. Other suggested causes have been linked to improper childhood nurturing in conjunction with the innate ability of the young to dissociate experiences or memories from the conscious mind.


The procedure applied by the therapist in identifying a psychological condition in which one if suffering from is quite important as it may either trigger some mental or personality disorders that initially existed but in a mild state (Paris, 2012). It has been scientifically proven and hypothesized that the therapist may create the symptoms of multiple personality disorder through the use of the same techniques applied to recover memories especially hypnosis or the socio-cognitive model. According to the socio-cognitive model, the multiple personality disorder is mainly due to the individuals unconsciously or consciously behaving in some ways controlled by cultural stereotypes. Due to this aspect, the improper application of therapeutic techniques is bound to result in traumatic events hence the occurrence of the disorder.


It is one of the dominant cause of psychological problems both in children and adults. Stress results from both personal and environmental factors but has the negative effect of causing damage to the cognitive ability of an individual mainly the conscious and unconscious mind hence resulting into some psychologically related infections including multiple personality disorder. Within a family set-up, for example, the act of divorce may inflict pain and stress on the spouses as well as children. The children are likely to be confused quite unaware of whom to follow despite the fact that they need both parents. It is a circumstance that calls for therapeutic intervention that might worsen the situation or make it better. The coping condition of the parents is also temporary s some environmental factors may open the memory causing mental frictions hence one is incapable to maintain the mood all the time. In most cases, individuals who are stressful tends to fake their personality as a coping strategy, but this may not occur for a longer duration since it tends to unexpectedly exist the consciousness making an individual respond outwardly causing a multiple personality impression.

Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters

Exposure to disasters are traumatizing and results into events that are easily unforgettable yet disturbing in nature. Children who have witnessed a disaster resulting from a natural calamity and causing the death of people and even family members are vulnerable to develop multiple personality disorders. They have an effect of destabilizing the mind as children keep on remembering the events without understanding the actual cause and reasons behind its occurrence. Therapy in most cases is utilized as a coping mechanism to calm the situation though it is hard for children. A similar condition affects women as well in most cases compared to men who record at a lower rate.

In the case of anthropogenic disasters, children in most cases develop a mind incapable of trusting others as their main resolution is screaming when in contact with strangers. The major human disasters include the warfare, where women and children are forced to relocate while other children witness the death of their parents. These conditions are traumatizing and make the children develop a negative mentality that shapes their lives, depriving them happiness for a better period of their lives (Dorahy et al., 2012). Majority of individuals who have engaged in these circumstances live in denial and fails to accept the reality. The trauma in these circumstances has an objective of resulting in multiple personality disorders.

Symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple personality disorder has symptoms similar to those of psychiatric or neurological disorders and this include;

Amnesia: -It is a symptom marked by the existence of gaps in the memory of a patient for longer durations (Markowitsch, & Staniloiu, 2012). Due to the existence of several personalities, the individuals tend to lose memory of the previous experiences gathered when the person was exposed. In a nutshell, amnesia refers to the inability of an individual to recall critical personal information that relates to the distinct identities. Notably, the personalities do not exhibit similar cases of amnesia hence tend to interact in a wider world.

Depersonalization: - It is a unique symptom where an individual develops a feeling that his or her body is changing, unreal or dissolving. Also, the symptom might occur in the sense that an individual views him or herself in the form of a movie or watching their personality. It portrays a sense of dissociation between the individuals senses and personality.

De-realization - refers to the dissociative symptom whereby the patient considers the external environment to be unreal (Markowitsch, & Staniloiu, 2012). Normally, patients view objects in the external environment such as objects, walls, and buildings to be in a continuous state of changing that is regarding color, shape or size.

Identity disturbance: - It is a symptom that emerges when the patient has a split in the personality characteristics, traits as well as memories. In a circumstance where the stressful events trigger the re-emergence of the dissociated components, the patients normally switch to an alternate personality. There have been cases where the performances in the place of work or at the learning environment have been triggered by the changing personalities resulting into unique and result that appear to be unbelievable even to the distinct individuals.

Changing levels of functioning: - Multiple personality disorder tends to influence how an individual function that is regarding the mental capacity of the physical work. There are personalities that boost the morale and makes an individual enthusiastic in achieving a given objective and at the same time there are others that make one develop an attitude hence interfering with their efficiency to perform a duty.

Mood swing or depression: - Depression is one of the dominant characteristics of psychological events that are stress related and have a negative implication to the personality of the person. Mood swing is a common condition among patients suffering multiple personality disorders since they portray the changing characteristic of happiness and that of sadness depending on the conditions they are subjected to. Based on this disorder, the traumatizing historical events are likely to generate a condition of depression that keeps on fading and regenerating with circumstance.

Suicide Risk: - Statistics hold that about 70% of the individuals suffering from multiple personality disorder have at a point in their lifetime attempted to commit suicide. The primary reason causing this is the aspect of self-denial. Most of them do not accept the reality of what they saw leading to the traumatizing events hence the attempts to commit suicide.

Eating and sleeping disturbances: - It is one of the common symptoms that affect patients especially those who have undergone traumatic events. Majority experience lost appetites making them incapable of eating. The ultimate result is malnourishment due to inadequate nutrition. Furthermore, the sleeping disturbance is also a common factor. It is challenging for individuals who have experienced cases of sexual assault or natural disasters to sleep as they are affected by the nature of dreams that they encounter. Eating and sleeping disturbances are normally accompanied by the fear that limits the impacts the even the metabolic functioning of the body hence resulting in other emotionally treated infections.

Hallucinations: - It refers to false perceptions or interpretation, impaired sensory experiences as well as hearing unreal voices that are purely emotion...

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