A condition in which a person has two or more distinct personalities is known as multiple personality disorder. Multiple personality disorder (MPD), also known as dissociative identity disorder (DID), is caused by a series of traumatic childhood events.
Multiple personalities are often confused with schizophrenia, but they are actually two different conditions. People with schizophrenia do not have as many personalities as people with multiple personalities. However, these two conditions can encourage sufferers to attempt suicide.
Causes and Risk Factors of Multiple Personality
The exact cause of multiple personalities is not known. However, several studies have shown that people with multiple personality have had repeated traumatic experiences in their childhood. These traumatic experiences can be:
- Persecution or torture
- Physical or emotional abuse
- Parenting patterns that make children feel afraid
- Natural disasters
In addition to the above factors, multiple personalities are prone to occur in people whose families have a history of multiple personalities.
Symptoms of Multiple Personality
Typical symptoms found in people with multiple personalities are:
Having two or more personalities
People with multiple personalities have two or more personalities inside of them, which are different from each other or can even be contradictory. One of the personalities can take over control of the sufferer’s body and mind at any time, and is usually triggered by certain situations when the sufferer feels stressed, afraid, or angry.
In psychological terms, the other personality is referred to as the alter ego. When the alter ego takes over consciousness, the sufferer will become another person with a different name, age, gender, or character. In fact, it is possible for the sufferer to feel he is an animal.
During this period, behavioral changes will be seen in people with multiple personalities. They can do things they normally wouldn’t.
For example, a person with multiple personality disorder who is law-abiding, polite, and behaves according to societal norms may commit theft, act violently, or easily swear when his alter ego takes over.
When a person with multiple personality traits is asked why they do this, they will either deny it, say they don’t remember doing it, or point to someone else within themselves as the culprit.
Please note, multiple personalities are not related to cultural or religious rituals. Not also “trance” as some people think in certain cultures.
This dual personality also does not appear due to the influence of alcohol and drug consumption, or physical medical disorders, such as amnesia in head injuries, dementia, aura in migraines, or Alice in Wonderland syndrome.
People with multiple personalities often experience amnesia or do not remember certain events in their childhood or adolescence, especially events that traumatized them.
Sufferers can also forget events that have just taken place, very basic important information, or abilities they have. For example, when the alter ego takes over, the sufferer may forget how to use a computer even though he or she is actually a computer expert. On the other hand, sufferers may do something they normally cannot do, such as painting or speaking a foreign language.
People with multiple personality disorder may not remember how they got to a place or find an object but don’t know how they got there. Sufferers also often do not remember anything that was said or done.
People with multiple personalities will generally experience serious problems or difficulties in their daily lives due to these symptoms.
When to go to the doctor
Consult a psychiatrist (psychiatrist) if you experience the symptoms mentioned above.
Multiple personalities may not be realized by the sufferer. If you notice the appearance of two or more different personalities in someone in your family, friends, or relatives, try taking him to a psychiatrist.
Early detection and proper treatment can prevent people with multiple personality from doing things that can harm others and themselves.
Multiple Personality Diagnosis
The doctor will ask the patient’s symptoms and overall medical history, then perform a physical examination and a psychiatric examination. Multiple personality diagnosis will be made based on the DSM-5 criteria (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition)
Doctors can also perform blood tests and scans with X-rays, CT scans or MRIs to rule out the possibility that the patient’s symptoms are caused by side effects of drugs or other diseases.
Multiple Personality Treatment
The treatment method for multiple personality is psychotherapy in the long term. The goal of psychotherapy is to reunite the whole divided personality.
However, it should be noted that psychotherapy is only to help the sufferer to understand the condition he is experiencing so that he can face and overcome the condition.
Psychiatrists may also perform hypnotherapy to help control abnormal behavior and make psychotherapy more effective.
Doctors can also give antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, or sedatives to treat symptoms of mental disorders experienced by people with multiple personality.
Complications of Multiple Personality
Multiple personalities can put the sufferer at high risk for complications such as:
- Desire to hurt oneself or commit suicide
- Depression and anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Addicted to alcohol
- Sexual dysfunction
- Drug abuse
- Sleep disturbances, such as difficulty falling asleep, nightmares, or sleepwalking
- Eating disorders
- Physical symptoms, such as severe headaches
Prevention of Multiple Personality
Avoiding actions or situations that increase the risk of a child developing this disorder, such as abuse, abuse, or neglect, is an important part of multiple personality prevention.
Take a child to a psychiatrist right away if he has been traumatized by an event. The doctor will assist him in dealing positively with the memory of the traumatic event.