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Split personality: myths and the truth about dissociative identity disorder

Dissociative identity disorder (previously multiple personality disorder) – a violation in which there is a split personality into two or more “I”. For this reason, the term “split personality” cannot be considered correct. In a person with this syndrome, more than two completely different personalities can get along. This is just one of the myths that hovers over the disorder, creating a misconception about the disease. Consider other myths and real facts related to dissociative disorder.

“Split personality” – myths and facts

In order to explain the significance of the disease, you need to understand what a person is. It is believed that the personality is the social nature of a person, a kind of psychological education that can develop in the process of life. Over time, it is the individual who takes control of the person’s decisions and the management of simpler functions. Self-awareness and memory of a person belong entirely to the individual. It is she who is responsible for the thoughts, experiences and control of human actions.

It’s easier to imagine a person using the example of a ship at sea, and the person who stands at the helm is a person. The captain leads the ship, corrects its direction and gives instructions to the entire crew. But what happens if the captain falls asleep and someone else takes his place?

What is dissociative disorder?
Each of us came across the phrase: “It’s as if you were replaced” or “It doesn’t look like you.” These phrases may describe each of us in some circumstances. But they can also describe a person with a split personality. One big difference is that we know about our strange actions that are not inherent to us, but a person with a disorder may not even suspect. In his opinion, he may not be involved at all in the current situation.

With a dissociative identity disorder, two or more personalities can coexist inside a person, each of which has its own:

self-sleep
memory;
features of speech, emphasis;
handwriting;
gesticulation;
life story;
level of intelligence;
character;
tastes;
and even visual acuity.
The neuropsychologist Eliezer Sternberg wrote about personality splitting syndrome. He described the clinical case of a certain Evelyn who was blind. The patient was tormented by memory lapses, after which she could find strange marks on herself. Handwritten inscriptions and messages appeared on her body. At home, she found items that she would never buy herself. As a result of the study of memory failures by psychiatrists, a woman was diagnosed with dissociative personality disorder. It coexisted with several personalities who had their own name, age, appearance, life story and temperament. But that was not the most surprising. According to the doctor, when one of the false personalities was at the helm, the blindness that the doctors could not explain almost came to naught.

Is split personality a schizophrenia?
One of the most common myths about the disease is that it is attributed to schizophrenia. But this is a wrong judgment. In schizophrenia, the patient loses touch with reality due to disruptions in thought processes, loss of integrity and the connection between emotions, thinking and behavior. In addition, patients with schizophrenia can see hallucinations due to incorrect perception of information. The “split personality” does not change the functioning of the basic processes in the brain and perception of the world. Changes only undergo memory, which each person has his own.

“You are not alone if you have a split personality”
For some time this statement was popular in social networks, which has nothing at all to do with the nature of the disease. People with a split personality may not even suspect the existence of “neighbors”. Those moments when a false personality is at the helm, for the main remain in ignorance and a space in memory. This is the main feature of the disease. In some cases, the absence of fragments from life can be replaced by false memories. This is such a self-defense against unnecessary questions of one’s own consciousness.

Dissociative disorder may result from childhood trauma
According to many psychoanalysts, an identity disorder is caused by serious psychological trauma that the patient suffered in early childhood. They explain this by the fact that the child does not have any protection against difficult, sometimes painful, sometimes violent events. For this reason, other, stronger ones come to replace the “main” personality, who can endure that pain and bitterness and divide into several.

You may have heard when someone says to a person with a difficult fate that there are too many troubles for one person. In a patient with a split personality, there are several of these people. They are the protection of the human psyche. Sometimes bad and painful memories are practically erased from the memory of the bearer of personalities and transmitted to the false “I”. One person can play the role of protection against bad memories, the second writes them down, and the third helps to feel inner freedom and emancipation.

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