Dissociative Personality Disorders (DPD) are a type of mental health disorder that is characterized by a lack of connection between thoughts, memories, emotions, and identity. People with this disorder may feel disconnected from their reality and may experience changes in their sense of identity, such as having two or more distinct personalities. This can be a confusing and frightening experience, both for the person and their family and friends. Fortunately, there are treatments and therapies available to help people with DPD understand and manage their symptoms. This article will provide an overview of dissociative personality disorders, the different types, associated symptoms, risk factors, and available treatments.
Overview of dissociative personality disorders
Dissociative disorders are mental health disorders characterized by a lack of connection between thoughts, memories, emotions, and identity. People with these disorders may feel disconnected from their reality and may experience changes in their sense of identity, such as having two or more distinct personalities. Dissociative disorders are common, and people of all walks of life can experience these symptoms. However, certain factors increase the risk of developing these disorders. These include experiencing trauma, such as child abuse or sexual assault, or struggling with a chronic health condition. Dissociative disorders affect millions of people each year and can have a significant impact on quality of life. However, there are effective treatments available to help people manage their symptoms and lead healthy, productive lives.
Types of dissociative personality disorders
Dissociative personality disorders are classified as “severe and disabling” mental health disorders.
The most common types of dissociative personality disorders are:
- Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
– DID is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states.
– People with DID may experience a disruption in the flow of their daily activities and may find themselves switching between different identities as well as experiencing sudden changes in mood, behavior, and thought patterns.
– Other symptoms include amnesia, anxiety, and depression.
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
– PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that is triggered by a traumatic event.
– People with PTSD may experience symptoms such as recurring nightmares, flashbacks, extreme anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and feelings of being on edge.
– PTSD is common among survivors of traumatic events, such as war, natural disasters, childhood abuse, or sexual assault.
– PTSD may occur among people who have been involved in accidents such as car or airplane crashes. It can also occur among people who have witnessed violent events, such as first responders at the scene of shootings or active scenes of terrorism. PTSD occurs when a person’s “fight or flight” response becomes overly activated. It can develop at any age and can occur at any time in a person’s life.
– The duration of PTSD symptoms varies from person to person.
- Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
– People with this type of dissociative disorder may experience a feeling of detachment or estrangement from themselves, others, and the world around them.
– People with this disorder may feel like they are watching themselves from afar and may experience a reduced sense of touch, sound, taste, and/or smell.
– People with depersonalization/derealization disorder may also experience a sense of being an outside observer of their thoughts, feelings, and/or actions.
– This disorder is not linked to past trauma or PTSD.
Symptoms of dissociative personality disorders
The symptoms of dissociative disorders vary depending on the type of disorder. However, some symptoms are common across the different types of dissociative disorders. These symptoms include:
- A disruption in the flow of daily activities
- Amnesia, Anxiety, Depression, Difficulty concentrating, Distorted sense of time
- Feeling like an outside observer of thoughts, feelings, and actions
- Feelings of detachment or estrangement
- Feeling disconnected from reality, from one’s identity
- Inability to form new memories
- Nightmares, flashbacks, Sleep problems
- Sudden changes in mood, behavior, and thought patterns
- Trouble remembering important information about one’s identity, such as childhood memories, schooling, and friends
- Unusual stuttering or stammering, use of language
- Unrealistic or delusional beliefs
Risk factors for dissociative personality disorders
Like all types of mental health disorders, the risk factors for dissociative disorders are not completely understood. However, certain risk factors increase a person’s likelihood of experiencing these disorders. These include:
- Being female
- Having a history of trauma
- Having a family member with a mental health disorder
- Having a chronic health condition
- Having a mood disorder
- Having substance use disorder
- Having an anxiety disorder
- Having a personality disorder
- Having post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Having childhood abuse in one’s family history
Diagnosis of dissociative personality disorders
People who experience symptoms of a dissociative disorder may go to a mental health professional for diagnosis. The mental health professional will create a plan for you based on the results of your evaluation. The mental health professional may suggest therapy or medication to help you manage your symptoms. You should feel comfortable with your treatment plan. If you don’t, you can seek a second opinion. There is no one diagnostic test to determine whether someone has a dissociative disorder. However, a mental health professional can help you determine if you have a dissociative disorder based on your symptoms.
Treatments for dissociative personality disorders
There are several types of treatments available for people with dissociative disorders. Depending on the type of disorder and its severity, your mental health professional may recommend a combination of treatments. Treatment may include therapy, medication, or both.
Therapy – Therapy can help you learn how to manage your symptoms and control your thoughts. Many types of therapy are available to treat dissociative disorders. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and hypnosis.
Medication – If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may prescribe medication to help manage your symptoms. Medications may be useful in conjunction with therapy.
Because dissociative disorders are complex mental health disorders, it may take some time to find the right combination of treatment methods.
Coping with dissociative personality disorders
Coping with a dissociative disorder can be challenging, but there are many things you can do to improve your quality of life. It’s important to remember that you are not your disorder. You have a disorder, and you are you. You are a unique person with strengths, abilities, and gifts. They are just hidden behind the walls of your disorder right now. There are many helpful ways of coping with dissociative disorders, including:
- Connecting with others, with the support of others is an important part of coping with a dissociative disorder. You can connect with others by joining a support group, talking with other people with disorders, or connecting with friends and family members.
- Managing stress – Stress can worsen symptoms, so it’s important to learn how to manage it.
- Creating a positive mental environment – You can create a positive mental environment by surrounding yourself with positive people and thoughts.
- Engaging in activities that you enjoy – It’s important to engage in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel happy.
- Finding a hobby – Hobbies are a great way to engage in activities that you enjoy and spend time connecting with yourself.
- Practicing self-care – It’s important to practice self-care, even if you don’t feel like it sometimes. It can be helpful to keep a journal or write down your thoughts.
Dissociative disorders are mental health disorders characterized by a lack of connection between thoughts, memories, emotions, and identity. People with these disorders may feel disconnected from their reality and may experience changes in their sense of identity, such as having two or more distinct personalities. Dissociative disorders are common and can have a significant impact on quality of life. There are effective treatments available to help people manage their symptoms and lead healthy, productive lives. It’s important to remember that you are not your disorder. You have a disorder, and you are you. There are many helpful ways of coping with dissociative disorders, including connecting with others, managing stress, creating a positive mental environment, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.