Previously called multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder, or DID is a medical condition that targets an individual’s feelings, thoughts, and other emotions that directly associate with the state of their mental health. Mental health professionals involved with the American Psychiatric Association characterize people with dissociative identity disorder primarily by having two or more distinct identities or personalities present at any given time. Dissociative symptoms typically occur when having previously suffered a traumatic experience, such as verbal or sexual abuse.
Not being terribly popular in society, it may surprise some to learn that dissociative identity disorder is not a rare mental health condition. Studies have shown that it affects approximately one to two percent of the world’s general population.
This mental illness is considered to be one of the most prevalent conditions as the result of a traumatic event or other traumatic memories previously experienced during childhood. Co-occurring conditions that accompany dissociative identity disorder are frequently found and typically produce even more difficulties when trying to manage the symptoms.
These co-occurring complications often include the following:
The goals during dissociative identity disorder treatment are mostly to provide the patient with effective relief to the symptoms they may be experiencing. By offering each patient the necessary entities such as comfort and safety, family members can rest easy knowing that their loved one is being taken care of professionally. Attempting to “reconnect” the various personalities into a single unified identity is the primary objective therapists and patients try to meet.
Determining the best approach to treat each patient depends on the specific needs and unique circumstances of each case. Possible triggers and levels of severity are shown in the visible symptoms. Both play a major role in this determination.
Standard treatment methods typically include one, or a combination of two or more of the following options:
Trained therapists are able to coach patients using a variety of practices meant to help the patient relax and tolerate their dissociative symptoms much more manageable. By doing this, patients learn how to become more aware of their thoughts and intentions, which naturally improves the state of their mental health.
Psychotherapy treatment options, which are often referred to as “talk therapy,” is the most common and considered to be the main form of treatment for dissociative disorders like DID. A quick Google search will show that the word “psychotherapy” is a broad term that includes many forms of therapy that differ one from another.
Therapy that is done with family members present significantly helps all parties learn more about the disorder and the struggles caused by it. Helping family members be able to recognize and identify some of the associated symptoms so that the proper actions can be taken to decrease the effects and keep the conditions from worsening.
CBT is a popular type of psychotherapy designed to focus primarily on properly correcting unhealthy and dysfunctional thinking patterns. Other thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can also be affected during this form of therapy.
Therapists use DBT methods when patients exhibit extreme personality disorders. This often includes different dissociative disorder symptoms that are happening because of some form of childhood trauma that was experienced.
Mental health professionals prefer using EMDR methods when treating patients who are experiencing frequent flashbacks and nightmares, among other symptoms that are commonly produced by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Although there are not any medications to specifically treat dissociative disorders, there are some that reduce the symptoms and can significantly help many situations. These known medications are proven to be an effective treatment resource to help with depression or anxiety. For example, patients may improve their depression symptoms by receiving a written prescription from a certified therapist or doctor for an anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication.
Going to the first appointment can be a stressful and sometimes scary situation for many people. Below are a couple of helpful tips and suggestions that can help make the process easier and more effective. It helps the therapists a huge deal if they are able to obtain any individualized information regarding their patient and the circumstances that face each of them.
One way is to make a list of:
Do yourself a favor and get professional help for you or your loved one’s Dissociative Identity Disorder. Don’t let mental illness get in the way of living a happy fulfilling life.
The talented staff at SCSRC’s Mental Health Center in Mission Viejo ardently takes on the mental health challenges with our patients, doing everything in our power to bring more joy into the lives of those we touch.
Our leading therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists develop a personalized treatment plans unique to each patient. We want to cater treatment that is specific to you. Let’s work together to build a plan that is effective for you.
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