Multiple Personality Disorder (or MPD) is a psychological disorder where a person possesses more than one developed personality.
These personalities have their own way of thinking, feeling, and acting that may be completely different from what another
personality is like. To be diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, at least two of the multiple personalities must dominate
over the others on a slightly frequent basis. This results in an abrupt change in the way a person acts. Basically, they become
another person in either an extreme or complete way.MPD was first recognized in the late nineteenth century by Pierre Janet,
a French physician. The disorder was later brought more to public awareness by The Three Faces of Eve (1957), a movie based
on the true story of a pristine housewife who was diagnosed with MPD when she couldn't explain why she would suddenly become
a very sexual person and not remember it.
Multiple Personality Disorder can be caused by many reasons such as childhood abuse, social environment of the patient;
problems in brain functioning, over-exposure (i.e. repeated episodes) to some traumatic situations, lack of proper support
from someone in countering stress filled situations, influence of a particular personality may be from surrounding or from
history etc. Situations where mental stress and pressure are high induce vulnerability of a person to this disorder.
A person suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder undergoes change in personality in just a few seconds. The patient
then acts as a completely different person than he/she is in reality, the patient imitates characteristic and behavioral traits,
name, history etc. of the person he/she thinks he/she is. People suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder sometimes undergo
change in personality where they have alters of different genders, sexual orientations, ages, or nationalities. Some people
alter to something that is not even human; they alter to some spiritual force, sometimes to different animals, sometimes to
some extra terrestrial life force etc. Generally, people suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder has from 2 to 10 alters
but at situations there have been as many as some hundred alters.
*Causes and symptoms*
The severe dissociation that characterizes patients with DID is currently understood to result from a set of causes:
* An innate ability to dissociate easily
* Repeated episodes of severe physical or sexual abuse in childhood
* The lack of a supportive or comforting person to counteract abusive relative(s)
* The influence of other relatives with dissociative symptoms or disorders
The relationship of dissociative disorders to childhood abuse has led to intense controversy and lawsuits concerning the
accuracy of childhood memories. The brain's storage, retrieval, and interpretation of childhood memories are still not fully
The major dissociative symptoms experienced by DID patients are amnesia, depersonalization, derealization, and identity
Patients suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder loose memory in the form of major chunks. They do not remember things
happened in their lives over an extended period of time or sometimes they forget what had happened with them between particular
periods of time. For example, people forget everything about their childhood or sometimes they forget about whatever happened
during a time period say some 3-4 year of time. When a person alters and a different personality dominates them, they do not
remember what they did after they become normal.
Depersonalization is another symptom people suffering from MPD experience. Patient feel as if his/her body is getting
dissolved, sometimes they feel as if they are out of their own body and watching something happening to there own body but
do not have any control over it, sometimes they feel as if their body is not real and is changing in size, shape, color.
Patient also experience derealization as one of the symptoms of this disorder. Patient experience whatever he/she is looking
at, that thing is changing in shape, size or color. Sometimes they feel as if the things they are watching are not real.
Any stressful situation may trigger in altering of the personality of the person who is suffering from this disorder.
The person then acts, behaves as if he is someone else.
While not always necessary, hypnosis is a standard method of treatment for DID patients. Hypnosis may help patients recover
repressed ideas and memories. Further, hypnosis can also be used to control problematic behaviors that many DID patients exhibit,
such as self-mutilation, or eating disorders like bulimia nervosa. In the later stages of treatment, the therapist may use
hypnosis to "fuse" the alters as part of the patient's personality integration process.
Treatment of DID may last for five to seven years in adults and usually requires several different treatment methods.
Some doctors will prescribe tranquilizers or antidepressants for DID patients because their alter personalities may have anxiety
or mood disorders. However, other therapists who treat DID patients prefer to keep medications to a minimum because these
patients can easily become psychologically dependent on drugs. In addition, many DID patients have at least one alter who
abuses drugs or alcohol, substances which are dangerous in combination with most tranquilizers.
Herschel Walker's MPD
Fact or Fiction
Sybil and her Personality Disorder