The Truth About Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is often considered one of the most controversial disorder diagnoses’ given. Why is that? First, we have to understand what DID is. DID is a version of multi-personality disorder. When DID is depicted in Hollywood movies, the separate personalities in one person, are distinctly different and exaggerated. In reality, those with DID have more subtle personality differences. Most people who have been diagnosed with DID spend up to 7 years in therapy before it is even diagnosed. These people have different “states” of being themselves. Every human has the ability to be different to adapt to situations, but those with DID do not remember their behavior in those different states.

Another reason this diagnosis is controversial is that most DID develops during early childhood. It usually happens due to sustained severe trauma. People with DID have a difficult time with memory and have periods of time they can’t recall. For this reason, it is feared that many of the recalled memories are false. If the early trauma was abuse or neglect, those false memories may point to an innocent person. Those with DID will sometimes present with self-destructive behavior, such as self-cutting. They are depressed and will suffer from PTSD without knowing exactly what the cause was. Hypnosis is thought to help bring out those memories, but there is always the possibility the memories are false.

There are many misinformed therapists who treat those they believe have DID. The International Society for The Study of Trauma and Dissociation is the premier organization to train professionals in DID. Their website offers guidelines in treatment for this disorder. True DID is rare. Only 1 to 3 percent meet the full criteria to be diagnosed with DID. As of this date, the National Institute on Mental Health has not funded a single treatment study on DID.


N.A. “Dispelling Myths about Dissociative Identity Disorder.” (Website). (2015).
  • 5 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • I don't know much about Dissociative Identity Disorder before. I have never heard of such thing as that until now. But that seems pretty scary because the person who has this illness tend to forget what he/she has done.

    Thank you for sharing this information to us.

  • WOW!  First, as dyanmarie25 mentions, thanks for the informative article.  What really resonates with me and I find extremely disturbing is the fact that there has not been one
    treatment study on Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)!  It really makes me wonder why.  I hope, there will be one soon.  Mental health issues, such as, DID, are near and dear to my heart.  Misdiagnosis, as noted above, occurs unknowingly far too often.  I am not implying this is intential, but without funding, how is treatment and proper diagnosis possible?
  • One of the most famous cases of DID, Sybil, has now been found out to have been faked. Sybil was a young woman desperate for more attention from her psychologist so she began to fake multiple personalities. Her doctor then teamed up with an author and was in the process of writing a book when she discovered Sybil was faking. She already has a book deal so instead of stopping...she continued on and wrote a book to continuing the story that Sybil really had DID. It was only after the doctor died, that the woman who was Sybil has 'come clean' about things.
  • Thank you so much for sharing this, it's really helpful. I'm a psychology student and I never have heard about this disorder before, as you mentioned a lot of therapists are not well informed about this, I will do research about the topic and I will ask my teachers too.
    Thank you again!
  • I am unsure what you're trying to say here: are you suggesting that DID is not a real disorder, or that it does not exist? Or are you suggesting that the institutionalized presentation of it is inaccurate or harmful?

    As a sidenote, 1-3% of the population is really not rare when speaking of diseases. That means that in a room of 100 people, one is likely to have DID. Think about it.

    - someone diagnosed with DID
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