MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER, SYMPTOMS AND CAUSES

How is dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosed?

If symptoms are present, an evaluation will be done with a complete medical history and physical examination. Although no laboratory tests can diagnose dissociative disorders medically, various diagnostic tests such as blood tests or imaging (X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs) may be used to rule out physical illness or medication side effects.

If no physical illness is found, the person might be referred to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatric social worker who is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. They will perform a clinical interview to get a full picture of the person’s past experiences and current functioning. Some psychiatrists and psychologists may employ specialized tests (for example, the Dissociative Experiences Scale—DES) or a standard interview such as the Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociation (SCID-D).

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) was formerly called multiple personality disorder. It is a mental illness that involves disruptions or breakdowns of memory, awareness, identity and/or perception. The condition is further explained.

 

What is dissociative identity disorder (DID)?

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) was formerly called multiple personality disorder. People with DID develop one or more alternate personalities that function with or without the awareness of the person’s usual personality.

DID is one of a group of conditions called dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are mental illnesses that involve disruptions or breakdowns of memory, consciousness or awareness, identity and/or perception — mental functions that normally work smoothly.

When one or more of these functions is disrupted, dissociative symptoms can result. These symptoms can be mild, but they can also be severe to the point where they interfere with a person’s general functioning, both in personal life and at work.

How common is (DID)?

Instances of true DID are very rare. When they occur, they can occur at any age. Females are more likely than males to get DID.

What causes dissociative identity disorder (DID)?

A history of trauma is a key feature of dissociative identity disorder. About 90% of the cases of DID involve some history of abuse. The trauma often involves severe emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. It might also be linked to accidents, natural disasters, and war. An important early loss, such as the loss of a parent or prolonged periods of isolation due to illness, may be a factor in developing DID.

Dissociation is often thought of as a coping mechanism that a person uses to disconnect from a stressful or traumatic situation, or to separate traumatic memories from normal awareness. It is a way for a person to break the connection with the outside world, and create distance from an awareness of what is occurring.

Dissociation can serve as a defense mechanism against the physical and emotional pain of a traumatic or stressful experience. By dissociating painful memories from everyday thought processes, a person can use dissociation to maintain a relatively healthy level of functioning, as though the trauma had not occurred.

Episodes of DID can be triggered by a variety of real and symbolic traumas, including mild events such as being involved in a minor traffic accident, adult illness, or stress. Or a reminder of childhood abuse for a parent may be when their child reaches the same age at which the parent was abused.

What are the symptoms of DID?

A person with DID has two or more different and distinct personalities, the person’s usual (“core”) personality and what are known as alternate personalities, or “alters.” The person may experience amnesia when an alter takes control over the person’s behavior.

Each alter has distinct individual traits, a personal history, and a way of thinking about and relating to his or her surroundings. An alter may be of a different gender, have a different name, or a distinct set of manners and preferences. (An alter may even have different allergies than the core person.)

The person with DID may or may not be aware of the other personality states and memories of the times when an alter is dominant. Stress, or even a reminder of a trauma, can trigger a switch of alters.

In some cases, the person with DID may benefit from a particular alter (for example, a shy person may use a more assertive alter to negotiate a contract). More often DID creates a chaotic life and problems in personal and work relationships. For example, a woman with DID may repeatedly meet people who seem to know her but whom she does not recognize or remember ever meeting. Or she may find items around the home that she does not remember buying.

DID shares many psychological symptoms as those found in other mental disorders, including:

  • Changing levels of functioning, from highly effective to disturbed/disabled
  • Severe headaches or pain in other parts of the body
  • Depersonalization (feeling disconnected from one’s own thoughts, feelings, and body)
  • Derealization (feeling that the surrounding environment is foreign, odd, or unreal)
  • Depression and/or mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Eating and sleeping disturbances
  • Problems with functioning sexuality
  • Substance abuse
  • Amnesia (memory loss or feeling a time distortion)
  • Hallucinations (false perceptions or sensory experiences, such as hearing voices)
  • Self-injurious behaviors such as “cutting”
  • Suicide risk — 70% of people with DID have attempted suicide

How is dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosed?

If symptoms are present, an evaluation will be done with a complete medical history and physical examination. Although no laboratory tests can diagnose dissociative disorders medically, various diagnostic tests such as blood tests or imaging (X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs) may be used to rule out physical illness or medication side effects.

If no physical illness is found, the person might be referred to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychiatric social worker who is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. They will perform a clinical interview to get a full picture of the person’s past experiences and current functioning. Some psychiatrists and psychologists may employ specialized tests (for example, the Dissociative Experiences Scale—DES) or a standard interview such as the Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociation (SCID-D).

THE POWER OF INTUITION

Research Management Critical For Indian Labs to Become Competitive ...

Edited by Alex Santiago

Unlike the five senses of sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell, the sixth sense or the faculty of intuition, remains hidden and out of reach. We get rare glimpses of this elusive sense. In moments of extreme clarity and present awareness, we may suddenly get an answer to a burning question that has failed to come via the rational thought process. Such intuitive perception bypasses the sensory nervous system and the intermediary step of conscious thought. There is a lot we don’t know about our interiority that lies beyond the mind, including the power to intuit. Logic lives within the framework of the conscious thought and is linked to the information gathered through the five senses, sourced either directly or indirectly. Through logic, we cannot explain or explore the sixth sense of intuition.

Evolution of individual consciousness passes through three steps — that of instinct, intellect, and intuition. Our brain has an ‘ancient’ part called the hindbrain, and a ‘modern’ part called the forebrain. The former is related to instinctual responses, and the latter is responsible for intellectual activities. Research on the areas of the brain linked to intuitive perception is ongoing. An instinctual reaction may follow a set pattern and has a physical, physiological and psychological footprint. Intellect may or may not follow a pattern and works on the mental layer of our being and not on the physical and physiological ones. Intuition is beyond the boundaries of the material, physiological and psychological layers.

Intuition is highly subjective, coming in a flash and disappearing just as quickly. Intuitive observations cannot be consciously called upon or stored. If our awareness is not in the present, we may not even register information coming through the portal of intuition. More choiceless and more present is our awareness, more accessible is this portal. Intellectual observations develop over time, can be stored, studied and transferred via oral or written form. Instinctual behavior comes through an impulse that is triggered by something external, and it is a lower brain function. The mind may not necessarily be involved.

The so-called ‘gut feeling’ is something that many of us may have experienced more than once. The mind is quick to pounce on a ‘gut feeling’ and offer its analysis and commentary. We then start to weigh the pros and cons, which requires the cognitive thinking process to takes over. The slow ringer of logic keeps the intuitive faculty rudimentary.

Perhaps the most famous documented example of intuitive ability is that of the Indian Mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920). He came up with complex new mathematical formulae without involving preceding steps of logical thought to get his derivations.

The right milieu is needed for the spark of intuition to ignite the mind with new insights. The mind of an average human being has a turbid quality related to the constant movement of thoughts. These thoughts may be essential for our daily interactions with the world, but they form a screen which limits our perceptive ability. They are like low hanging clouds that obscure the view of a blue sky, the sun, moon, and the stars. When the movement of thoughts ceases, the mind takes on a transparent quality.

Since intuition comes from the inside and not through information derived from the world through the five senses, it is reasonable to conclude that a clear and empty mind is a requirement to receive such insights. There is no defined pathway or coursework to enhance this potential ability of extrasensory perception. Looking at the sheer complexity of the human body and the near-magical quality of the mind, the body’s invisible companion it is hard to believe that using the body and the mind for deriving enjoyment through the five senses is all there is to life.

Like the electromagnetic spectrum of energy that pervades the entire physical universe, perhaps there is a much broader spectrum to the world of consciousness. We are accustomed to the ordinary waking state of consciousness. The five sensory organs can access this state. Just as we need specialized instruments to study and utilize portions of the electromagnetic spectrum not accessible to the five senses, perhaps intuition is the natural instrument which can help us reach subtler realms of consciousness.

The waking state may be thought of as ‘densely encapsulated consciousness.’ Density comes from the information contained in thousands of thoughts which take up the mind’s energy. In our conscious perception, information contained in thoughts is like a low hanging fruit on a tree. We pick, taste and fill ourselves with streams of information. Every thought has a ‘shell’ which serves as a finite boundary dividing its constituent information from other thoughts. This ‘shell’ that encapsulates information is perhaps reusable energy which is unrelated to the contents that come into our conscious perception.

The thinking process is quite organized. All information that passes through the mind, even stray bits and pieces come as discrete thoughts. Just as passports may be required to cross borders between different countries, information that comes in from the outside cannot enter the mind without the aid of a separate shell of energy. That shell plus the information become thoughts with which we interact. Every thought has a time and place context, and this helps with the cataloging of information for later retrieval.

If we remove the limitations posed by this ‘encapsulated consciousness,’ we may open up the field of the mind. With every thought we have a choice, holding on or letting go. When we hold onto an idea, it contaminates our awareness and creates localized pools of conditioning in which awareness swirls. The more we entertain certain choices, the deeper are the grooves they make in the mind. Like an antique gramophone player that renders music using a needle that tracks grooves on rotating discs, through our conditioning we play out the same life patterns day in and day out. Nothing new or unique comes out of such living.

Intuition is virtually nonexistent in a mind that is highly conditioned. In such a mind, the noise of conditioning drowns out the soft notes of intuition. Letting go involves not succumbing to the temptation of choice. Observation without choice breaks long-standing grooves of conditioning which strengthen ‘encapsulated consciousness.’

While logic driven intellect is like taking one step after another, intuition is like spreading wings and effortlessly traveling great distances. Just like wind aids a bird that spreads its wings as it soars higher into the sky, choiceless awareness is the ‘wind’ that carries us on the ‘wings’ of intuition into deeper reaches of our being. Being choiceless and aware is the stepping stone to the freedom of an intuition guided existence

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