Here are six misconceptions I want to dispel from my 26 years of treating persons with dissociative identity disorder.

DID is portrayed in myths as an uncommon, incurable disorder that causes drastic personality changes. People with DID actually change identities because they lack a single, coherent identity. With therapies like therapy and hypnosis, dissociation and other DID symptoms frequently go better. Some people unintentionally escape reality, or dissociate, when traumatic experiences like long-term abuse or neglect prove too much to handle.

Dissociation is a mental process in which you get cut off from your own ideas, memories, emotions, and sense of self. Dissociation also involves transitioning between several identities or states of consciousness if you have dissociative identity disorder (DID).

DID is a complex mental health disorder that is widely misunderstood, in large part due to incorrect media portrayals, claims Shari Botwin , a licensed clinical social worker in private practice who has treated patients with DID for over 26 years.

According to Botwin, many of the myths surrounding DID work to keep this illness stigmatized. She debunks a few of the most prevalent falsehoods below.

FIRST MYTH: DID IS RARE DID actually has an impact on around 1.5% of the global population . This percentage may appear to be a modest share of the population, but to put things into perspective, there are more than four times persons worldwide who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Furthermore, the true prevalence of this illness may be significantly higher given that DID frequently co-occurs with personality disorders.

According to Botwin, DID might be more prevalent in some groups. As many as 6% of highly traumatized people patients in inner city hospital settings, for instance, have a DID diagnosis. According to researchers, this may be connected to the fact that inner-city residents, particularly those with marginalized identities, endure high levels of trauma and oppression.

MYTH #2: THE ONLY SYMPTOM IS IDENTITY SWITCHING The term “alternative” or “alters” refers to the multiple unique identities that people with DID have. Each alter often has a distinct name, personal background, personality, mannerisms, and interests.

These alters, which you may or may not be aware of if you have DID, can control your thoughts, deeds, and behavior at different times. You frequently won’t get an remember what happened while an alter was in charge.

Switches between many identities are frequently dramatized in movies and television shows. In reality, according to Botwin, these changes are so subtle that others who don’t know you well might not even notice them. This is especially true if the alter doesn’t exhibit substantially altered body language, mannerisms, or speech patterns.

While alterations are still the most well-known element of DID, according to Botwin, other equally important common symptoms include:

Memory lapses or amnesia Derealization, or being cut off from one’s feelings or oneself a lack of ability to handle stress Depression Anxiety thoughts of suicide or self-harm MYTH #3: DID IS JUST ANOTHER NAME FOR DISSOCIATION The following other dissociative diseases can also cause dissociation:

Dissociative amnesia is a dissociative illness that causes lapses in memory for details of your past, including things you did, things that happened to you, or even abilities you acquired. Depersonalization-derealization disorder (DPDR): With this dissociative disorder, you may have intense out-of-body sensations and believe that you are seeing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors from a distance. However, exhibiting signs of dissociation does not always indicate that you have DID or any other dissociative condition. Indeed, according to Botwin, she has worked with dozens of clients who had a propensity to occasionally dissociate as a result of enduring abuse at the hands of family members or witnessing violence as children.

Other mental health problems that can coexist with dissociation include:

Schizophrenia Dissociation may also be a sign of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to some Shari Botwin 0 (ADHD). Additionally, epileptics may Shari Botwin 1 while having seizures.

Finally, using Shari Botwin 2 may cause you to detach, including:

Ketamine PCP Dextromethorphan (DXM), a cough suppressant, in dosages more than recommended on the label MYTH #4: THOSE WHO HAVE DID ARE RUDE Hollywood depictions of DID frequently feature an angry or dangerous alter.

According to Botwin, “This misconception furthers the stigma associated with DID.”
Botwin claims that there is no verified evidence connecting DID to an increase in criminal conduct or aggressive behavior.

“In reality, many DID clients express their rage by cutting themselves or engaging in disordered eating. Some clients claim to have heard voices telling them they are awful people or that they deserve to suffer from agony. Trauma survivors with DID are significantly more likely to damage themselves than others, “says Botwin.

Myth number five: DID Is a Personality Disorder. DID is frequently mistaken for a personality disorder, according to Botwin, because it formerly went by the moniker multiple personality disorder. And it’s true that DID and personality disorders do share a little Shari Botwin 3, for example, both may involve:

unsteady self-perception Having trouble handling stress Self-injury and suicidal thoughts Botwin also underlines how traumatic events might lead to the emergence of personality disorders and DID.

DID is classified by the Shari Botwin 4 as a dissociative disorder, not a personality disorder, despite the fact that the two diseases have a number of different symptoms.

Personality disorder sufferers:

They frequently struggle to control their emotions. Early adulthood, or Shari Botwin 5, is the norm. Usually, regardless of their emotional states, they Shari Botwin 6 to their acts. Those who suffer from dissociative illnesses like DID

Frequently lose track of who they are and their memories When flipping between alters, Shari Botwin 7, Shari Botwin 8 is typically between the ages of 5 and 10 Having said all of that, it is still possible to have Shari Botwin 9, and if you do, you can experience even more overlap between these groups of symptoms.

Sixth Myth: Did Cannot Be Treated DID is no “cure,” but according to Botwin, 1.5% of the global population 0 can control, if not completely eliminate, symptoms.

By far, the most popular method of treating DID is psychotherapy. Many of Botwin’s patients have learned the following through therapy:

Experiencing unpleasant memories connected to other identities Utilize different stress management techniques to reduce dissociation. Find ways to harmonize their coexistence, or at least combine parts of their distinct characteristics. One of Botwin’s clients, for instance, realized that some of her younger alternate identities had been contributing to her eating disorder. She recalled experiences from her youth in which she had felt unheard, unnoticed, and vulnerable. She eventually saw that the alters, which she had used to try to catch her parents’ attention, had led to her eating condition.

Different forms of therapy can aid in the treatment of DID. Among the most popular techniques are:

Hypnosis 1.5% of the global population 1 in fact, an 1.5% of the global population 2 discovered that dissociative disorder sufferers frequently prove simpler to hypnotize than non-sufferers. You 1.5% of the global population 3 may benefit from hypnosis if you want to improve communication between them and find techniques to control shifts between them.

DID IS A COMPLEX AND WIDELY MISTREATED CONDITION THAT USUALLY RESUMES FROM TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES AS A CHILD. While it does include switching between many identities, other signs can include memory loss, despair, and a sense of disconnection from oneself or the outside world.

Despite the fact that there is no known treatment for DID, Botwin highlights that there are ways to control and lessen your symptoms. Different therapies, including counselling, hypnosis, and medicine, can all be effective.

“Many of my DID patients are also working adults, parents, or spouses. DID sufferers are capable of leading happy and fulfilling lives “says Botwin.