Multiple Personality Disorder Essay

Submitted By jalynwatson21
Words: 2231
Pages: 9

The Facts On Dissociative Identity Disorder by Jalyn Watson

British Literature
Ms. Woodworth
3/25/13

Dissociative Identity Disorder, otherwise known as Multiple Personality Disorder, is caused by extreme trauma in early childhood that results in a “Disturbance in normal integrative functions of memory identity, and consciousness.” ("Dissociative Identity Disorder." Dissociative Identity Disorder.) The disturbance and abuse is so great that it causes the mind to section off the memories into different parts, called alters, in such a way where the alters go from memory storage to what almost seems to be a separate personality. The dissociation extends beyond daydreaming; there are separate consciousnesses with different ages, emotions, and memories. It is diagnosed as having at least two distinct and split identities that have strong power over behavior. The disorder is very complex and full of symptoms and different levels of consciousness. ("Dissociative Disorders-What You Need to Know-FAQs." Dissociative Disorders What You Need to Know) DID has many specific symptoms both physically, mentally, and the way memories function. For physical symptoms, a person with DID commonly has headaches with no obvious cause, even after a full medical exam by a doctor. To diagnose a DID, a doctor normally rules out; head injuries, brain disease, seizure disorders, medications side effects, substance abuse, dementia, and checks for periods where extreme physical stress has happened. (Dissociative Disorders What You Need to Know) Alters, previously called personalities, are switches in the subconscious. This is the biggest symptom of DID. Each alter has his own sex, age, race, and memories. Each alter even has his own personality quirks, such as favorite food or favorite type of music, his own voice, and habits. (Mental Disorders." Dissociative Identity Disorder) There are different types of alters. There is the ‘Host’, which is the dominant one that has the most control and is what the other alters are stemmed from. There is the ‘Child’, where the personality is very child-like and has the most memories of abuse. ‘Inner-Self Helpers’ keep peace and deals with the depression or upsetting emotions from the ‘Host’. The ‘Gatekeeper’ buffers all emotions and any troubling memories, like a bigger ‘Inner-Self Helper’. Otherwise there is the ‘Suicidal States’, separated from the rest of the alters, and the ‘Protector’, an alter normally protecting the ‘Child’. Some alters have the role of keeping communication open or closed between other alters. ("Dissociative Identity Disorder." Dissociative Identity Disorder) How often and how long it takes from the ‘Host’ to switch to an alter depends on the circumstances. If the situation is troubling enough he may switch instantly, otherwise, it happens over a period of minutes or even days. During the switch, the patient will temporarily have an irregular heartbeat and breath rate until leveling at a different state the previous alter or ‘Host’ didn’t have. As for how often, switching can be at will and even up to ten times in one hour. ("Dissociative Disorders What You Need to Know FAQs) Each alter tends to have his own set of emotions and memories. Emotions are hard to figure out in patients with DID, because in a person with many alters, each alter may have only a specific emotion the ‘Host’ finds too overwhelming to deal with. Besides dealing with certain emotions, each alter has his own job so he doesn’t get flooded with a different alter’s feelings and memories at the wrong times, such as school or at a job, although some alters have the job of keeping the ‘Host’ function at a normal basis. The number of jobs of emotions all depend on the alter himself and the number of alters already formed. ("Dissociative Identity Disorder: Overview and Current Research.")
Other mental symptoms, such as derealization and depersonalization, occur. Under…