What is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) And What Can You Do to Treat It?

Teenage Girl Visits Doctor's Office Suffering With Depression

Mental disorders are relatively common in the United States. However, many experts believe it’s a passing problem as one in five Americans experience it annually. By getting treatment, these people can recover from such disorders.

The most common mental disorders in the country are emotional and anxiety disorders. They make up the majority of Americans that have mental disorders. However, there are also rare disorders that affect the population, and these disorders are often the most dangerous. Dissociative Identity Disorder is one of the rarest mental disorders not just in the United States but in the whole world.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a mental disorder characterized by a person having multiple distinct personalities. The disorder was first formally diagnosed in the early 1800s, but it was not until the 1970s that the DSM included DID as an official diagnosis. The prevalence of DID is estimated to be between 0.01% to 1% of the population, making it one of the rarest mental disorders in the world.

What Causes Dissociative Identity Disorder?

The exact cause of DID is unknown, but several theories have been proposed. One theory suggests that the disorder results from trauma experienced during childhood. It could be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. It’s believed that the individual dissociates from the trauma to cope with the pain.

Another theory suggests that DID is a result of early attachment issues. This means the individual did not form a secure attachment to their primary caregiver during infancy. It can eventually lead to problems forming attachments later in life and can also make the individual more susceptible to developing DID.

A woman getting psychological treatment

DID Symptoms

The main symptom of DID is the presence of two or more distinct personalities. These personalities are often known as “alters.” The alters can be of any age, gender, or race. They may also have different interests, lifestyles, and vocations.

Individuals with DID will also often experience gaps in their memory. They may not be able to remember certain events that have occurred in their life. It’s known as dissociative amnesia and is one of the key symptoms used to diagnose the disorder.

  • Other symptoms of DID may include:
  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Intrusive thoughts

People who have the disorder can have multiple symptoms. However, they must always have dissociative amnesia.

Why is it Rare?

DID’s rarity is centered on the idea that people can easily fake it. This is because the symptoms are similar to other mental disorders. For example, someone with DID may be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) if they do not have dissociative amnesia. Moreover, there isn’t a precise diagnostic scale for such a disorder. Lastly, there are not enough studies to fully understand the disorder.

If you’re interested in knowing more about the disorder, you can read some scientific journals. However, if you want to contribute to the studies regarding such a disorder, you can participate in some studies. In addition, you can contact a patient recruitment provider regarding this disorder. These institutions are willing to connect you to the right researchers. Most often than not, these researchers would also give you compensation and treatment for any disorders you might have that are related to DID.

DID Treatment

As stated earlier, DID is a rare disorder. As a result, not many studies have been conducted on the best way to treat it. However, some treatments are effective in managing the symptoms of DID.


One of the most common treatments for DID is therapy. People can do it in an individual or group setting. The goal of treatment is to help the individual understand their alters and learn how to cope with them. It’s also essential to work on any underlying issues causing the disorder.

Psychotherapy is often used in conjunction with medication. The most common type of medication used to treat DID is antidepressants. These can help with any depression or anxiety that the individual may be experiencing. Psychiatrists may also prescribe anti-psychotic medications if the individual has hallucinations or delusions.


In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. However, it’s usually only done if the individual is a danger to themselves or others. Hospitalization can help stabilize the individual and get them on the right track with treatment.

DID is one of the rarest mental disorders out there. However, knowing about it is often half the battle. Once you know about this disorder, you can find ways to handle it and eventually deal with it.

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