1. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Multiple Personalities

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Honorius, Apr 20, 2008.

    Does anyone know anything on multiple personalities? (DID or Dissociative Identity Disorder)

    causes, side effects apart from multiple personalities, etc
     
  2. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    have you tried google?
     
  3. giuocob
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    giuocob Member

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    Wikipedia.

    That is all.
     
  4. Sugar N. Spice
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    Sugar N. Spice Senior Member

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    I have a friend who has schizophernia, and I know a few instances where his other personality has shown up.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    DSM !V is the authoritative reference, but it's not an easy read. If you intend to learn about it in depth, be aware there is a lot of misinformation on the Internet, and some of it can sound very convincing.

    Sybil, The Three Faces of Eve, and When Rabbit Howls are three well-known non-fiction accounts of DID that will provide a decent insight into the disorder and some of the early research into it.

    Don't confuse schizophrenia with DID, though; they are completely different disorders.
     
  6. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    ...schizophernia doesn't cause multiple personalities... also google tends to be a staple for research. but it rarely gives in depth details. same with wiki.
     
  7. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Go to the library then. Or call a psychiatrist/psychologist and ask.
     
  8. Sugar N. Spice
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    Sugar N. Spice Senior Member

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    I know that they're different disorders- but I do have first hand experiences with having contact with someone with a personality disorder. If you're looking for more info about DID, then maybe you should fish around for some articles if you're dissatisfied with google or wikipedia.
     
  9. MumblingSage
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    MumblingSage Contributing Member

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    I'd suggest the DSM. DID is a dissociative disorder, if that helps in your search.

    I know that sometimes personalities for a 'heirarchy', where the 'top' personality knows about all of the personalities, and the one below it knows all personalities except the 'top' one, and so on down.

    I also remember hearing about a woman (it might have been Sybil, it might have been someone(s) else, I don't know) who had a polite, responsible, assertive responsiblity, a partygoing personality, and her original self, shy and beaten down. The original personality wound up working all day, the partygoing went out at night and burned through her money, and the responsible one tried to keep things in order. Kind of an Id, Ego, Superego situation.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Well, the Id, Ego, and Superego was a Freudian model, not widely accepted anymore. I would consider that a crowbar match - little more than coincidence. Since you are talking about only three persona, you are probably looking at the Three Faces of Eve case, one of the oldest studies of MPD/DID.
     
  11. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had to call a local mental health hospital last year, and speak to one of the resident physicians, as means to research some information on psychological disorders for a class project...You simply explain what you are working on and why it is important. I have never heard of anyone being turned down.

    Good Luck to you!
     
  12. thelastblueberry
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    thelastblueberry New Member

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    In my imagination. Not always a good thing...
    Multiple personaities can be caused by traumatic experiences, usually during childhood. The experience is supposed to be so emotional painful or damaging that instead of just forgetting it, their mind splits into two different personalities. It's kind of like a really extreme mental self-defense.

    Also, people with multiple personality disorders can also have a variety of other mental disorders. It's a really in depth topic that you need to do a lot of research on. I suggest googling or going to the library. You should check out the movie/book Sybil. It's based on the true story of some woman who had a ridiculous number of personalities. Around 15 or so I think.

    Hope that helps! =)
     
  13. companionableills
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    companionableills Member

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    DID is most often caused by serious trauma or abuse during childhood, and separate personalities are created to bear specific types of abuse. This article explains that: http://www.newsweek.com/id/57343 using an example of a young girl whose male personality endured sexual abuse because as a boy he could not experience/internalize the abuse the same way.
    I would caution against using Sybil as a large basis because it may have been sensationalized (it is a very severe case) and it is well known, so using elements of her story in your writing may be a red-flag or a cliche.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The biggest problem with Sybil is that the case took place quite a while ago. The book itself is a pretty reliable report of the psychiatrist's experiences with the patient. Since then, a lot more has been learned about DID, including the fact that it's nowhere near as rare as first believed. However, it remains quite uncommon.

    Unfortunately, it has become a much more sensationalized topic. There is a lot of misinformation, some of which has been deliberately spread by those who have the most to lose by a general acceptance of DID as a legitimate disorder.

    The compartmentalized memories are a threat to abusers hoping to avoid prosecution, so there are attempts to dismiss DID as fake, and recovered suppressed memories as suggestibility.

    All the misinformation makes it harder to learn the real facts about the disorder.
     
  15. Shizai Ko
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    Shizai Ko New Member

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    The Freudian model is only a theory, but I think that it is still relevant. It is only a basic model. It is funny though that this is similar to the Christian philosophy. The Id is the flesh, the superego is the spirit, and the ego is the mind/soul that makes the final decides.
     
  16. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    MPD/DID (part 1)

    (This post ended up being extremely long, what with all the information I included, so I'm breaking it up into two shorter posts. Hope that doesn't cause any confusion! This is part one.)

    I know quite a bit about the subject, personally, so I'll outline a few things, and if there's anything I skip or that you need more detail on, feel free to ask.

    You probably know this already, but be careful when looking online for information. There is a lot of false information out there on the web, and even in some books. There are still "professionals" who insist that the condition does not exist, that it's created by psychologists through hypnosis, even when they have proof that isn't true. Also, examples from the media (such as the movie about Sybil) cannot always be trusted. Films and TV shows (even documentaries) tend to sensationalize the condition, exaggerating some features, downplaying others, giving a slant to the truth that makes it seem a far cry from the reality.

    First, and most importantly: schizophrenia is not the same thing as multiple personality disorder. The two are very different disorders. Schizophrenia means "split mind" but it refers to a split from reality, not in personality. People with schizophrenia might hear voices, but they are auditory hallucinations, whereas the voices that people with DID hear are the internal conversations of their split personalities. DID is also very different from so-called "personality disorders", and it is at the far end of the spectrum of dissociative disorders.

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders gives the following criteria for diagnosing someone with DID:

    A) The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.
    B) At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior.
    C) Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness.
    D) The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (eg. blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (eg. complex partial seizures).

    To understand what DID is, you first need to know what dissociation is. Everyone dissociates to a minor degree, at some point in their lives. A common illustration is you're driving home after a hard day, and when you get off at your exit, you suddenly realize that you have no memory of the drive between work and getting off the highway. You're physically there, but your mind disconnected and you drove on "auto-pilot". Nearly everyone does it, but usually it's no more than a mild occurrence that happens rarely.

    People with DID were born with a naturally strong ability to dissociate. They're often easily hypnotized, as well. However, becoming multiple isn't something that just happens when someone is tired or under a bit of stress. It requires very specific conditions. Essentially, it's brought about by severe trauma that's repeated throughout childhood. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, anything that makes a child fear for her life. They must already have the innate ability to dissociate, to separate themselves from the situation, and they must be of an age where their personality (their sense of self or individuality) is still developing. Only under those circumstances can DID develop.

    Essentially, becoming multiple is a matter of survival. A child cannot cope with the things that are happening to her, and so she "leaves" or dissociates from her body. Allows someone else to deal with the pain. When this happens repeatedly, the mind creates a persona to fill in the blanks. So when the abuse (or traumatic circumstances) begins, one child leaves, and another takes her place. This allows the child to go on living as though nothing bad had happened. She doesn't remember the bad things, because she didn't experience them--someone else did.

    A person can have as few as two or three alternate personalities, but depending on the severity of the trauma and how long it lasted, there may be hundreds or thousands of splintered personalities. Some might be only fragments, not fully formed, only existing to hold onto a specific memory or emotion. Some might be complete individuals in their own right, with their own likes and dislikes, their own hopes, dreams, ambitions, their own beliefs, and their own way of seeing the world. Some alternate personalities are children, others are the same age as the body, and some might appear to be older, or even the opposite sex. Occasionally there might be one that doesn't even seem human, such as a wolf or shark. (Generally these are expressions of raw emotions, or a form of defense. A child might think, a wolf could protect me. And so one of the alters takes on the form of a wolf. Not to imply that she has control over the process. It takes place entirely in the sub-conscious.)

    When an alternate personality emerges, an observer might notice no changes at all (since some alters are very good at imitating others, to keep the condition secret from the world). Or, to the contrary, a person's very appearance can alter, depending on who is in control of the body. Their posture might change, along with the set of their jaw, the wrinkles on their face, the colors of their eyes. The way that they speak might change, the voice might deepen or lighten, the tone might vary, speech patterns might change, even regional accents have been known to disappear or appear.

    Size can even change. As an example, one woman with multiple personalities wore an engagement ring. It fit snugly, almost too small. But when a child alter came out, the ring suddenly fell from her finger, much too large. I don't mean to say that she literally became as small as a child! Rather that subtle things about her body changed when her personalities switched, such as the amount of fluid retention in her fingers. Likewise, a multiple might find certain clothes or shoes suddenly don't fit.

    Doctors have documented that alternate personalities have different allergies, different reactions to medications, and even different brainwaves from each other. So as perplexing as it may be, it's a very real condition.

    (To be continued in the next post. . . .)
     
  17. Klee
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    Honey, this thread is two months old...
     
  18. Orianna2000
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    MPD/DID (part 2)

    (This post ended up being extremely long, what with all the information I included, so I'm breaking it up into two shorter posts. Hope that doesn't cause any confusion! This is part two.)

    As for symptoms . . . that gets complicated, and there's more information than I could ever put in one post!

    There can be a history of memory loss: conversations that one person clearly recalls, yet the multiple doesn't remember at all; people that come up and claim to know them, yet they know they've never met them before; items in the house that they don't recall buying and have no idea where they came from. One clue often found is handwriting that varies within the same journal, or on notes and lists around the house. In more extreme cases, a multiple might have blackouts, waking up in strange places, missing days or weeks, with no clue what's happened during that time.

    They might hear voices inside their head: alters talking. Note, this is not an auditory hallucination. It is the same as hearing your own internal monologue, except that when they ask a question, someone might actually answer . . . and it clearly isn't their own reply. They might have times when an alter takes over but the consciousness is shared, and so they are aware of everything, but have no control.

    Things can get tricky if one alter likes things that the others don't. Or if one begins dating someone, while another is dating someone else.

    Once someone finds out they are multiple, things can get worse--because of discovering a history of abuse that was previously unknown, or because some alters might be angry (or hurt, or frustrated) at having been the ones to experience the trauma, at being denied a proper "full" existence. There can be a lot of denial, which can hurt the feelings of alters who protected an innocent child. There can be upset feelings by alters who feel they have every right to share the body.

    But things can also improve. Opening communication between personalities can make things easier, so that the burdens of memory aren't shouldered only by a select few, and so that those with special needs can have those needs met. Often there are alters who had a specific purpose (such as to accept a certain type of abuse that is no longer happening) and so they need to be given something else to do, either a new responsibility, or something as simple as a hobby. There may be some alters who are still children (never given the chance to grow up) and they may need special care, allowed to be kids, to color and draw, to run around the park, to have comforting toys.

    There is a lot of talk of multiples "integrating", or combining all of their personalities into one, through intensive counseling. It's a somewhat controversial subject, though, because some psychologists insist it's the only goal of therapy--that it's the only way to "get better". Others don't believe that integration is truly possible, that rather than combining, the alters merely go into hiding. Others say that regardless of whether it's possible or not, integration isn't necessary. The truth is, it's quite possible for someone with DID to live a healthy, productive life, even without constant therapy or integrating.

    So it isn't all trauma and angst, being a multiple. In fact, many with DID wouldn't give it up if they could. They like the fact that they are never truly lonely, because there is always someone to talk to inside their head. They also appreciate that they might have an alter who can perform some task that they cannot. Often there are alters with abilities the others don't share, such as an affinity for math, the ability to play the piano, paint, write poetry, to be organized, or even something unusual, like always knowing what direction they're facing, without looking at a compass, or knowing what time it is, without looking at a watch.

    For more information, I can recommend a few books on the subject:

    The Dissociative Identity Disorder Sourcebook by Deborah Bray Haddock
    Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living With Dissociative Identity Disorder by Tracy Alderman & Karen Marshall
    The Family Inside: Working With the Multiple by Doris Bryant & Judy Kessler
    First Person Plural by Cameron West

    The first is a bit more clinical, though still easy to understand, with a lot of in-depth detail on the subject. The second is more of a guide written for people who want to learn to cope with having DID, but it provides a lot of insight into what it's like to be a multiple. The third is aimed more at a therapist studying and treating the condition, but it also looks at it in a different way, and therefore offers a unique perspective that I've found highly educational. Instead of merely saying "this is how it happens", it shows you, by comparing how a child normally develops through the years, with how a child under abusive conditions develops, mentally, socially, and emotionally. It illustrates how difficult it is for a multiple child to deal with the world around them, and how they manage to cope as they grow up and become adults. And the fourth is an autobiography written by a man with DID. It provides an interesting look into his mind as he discovers he's multiple and learns how to cope with it. What I like best is that it shows what it's like to be multiple, but without getting creepy or obsessing on the trauma and tragedy like some other multiple biographies do. (I've tried to read Sybil, When Rabbit Howls, and others like that, but they get far too depressing because of the intense detail they go into about the abuse, and how tragic and shattered the victims' lives are. On the contrary, First Person Plural faces facts, but tries to be optimistic.)

    If there's anything else you'd like to know . . . anything I skipped, or if you want more information on something specific, just ask. (That goes for anyone interested in learning more.) And I sincerely hope this was helpful, not too overwhelming! It's a very complicated subject. :)
     
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  19. Orianna2000
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    Sorry . . . I didn't know there was a time limit in responding to posts. I only just joined, so only just found this thread. Since the original poster didn't seem to get a detailed response from anyone, I thought I'd help out. You have my apologies if I wasn't supposed to.
     
  20. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Well, it's okay, but it's just not really well seen to bump old posts (especially really old ones), just so you know. Welcome to the forums~
     
  21. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great research Orianna. I don't dare ask you for the time! LOL

    Seriously, as is plainly evidenced by Orianna's post, mental health issues are incredibly layered and any writer who decides to feature mental health issues in his or her work should take the time to do a lot of homework in order to have the story be plausible. Thanks again for your detail.
     
  22. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    It just happens to be one of the rare subjects I know a lot about, that's all. :)
     
  23. Acglaphotis
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    Thanks for bumping the post. I'm interested in the subject and was planning to make an unnecessary thread about it.
     
  24. SonnehLee
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    SonnehLee Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was about to pull out my DSM and type that...but you beat me to it.
     
  25. Honorius
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    Honorius Active Member

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    Thank you Orianna2000! i had honestly given up on this post along~ time ago... i just wasn't getting an useful responses "Wiki it!" (Duh.. tried that) "Read Sybil!" (half of you said not to) but you gave me an in depth useful response. so i thank you. :D and the information is great too.

    (By the way if you are very late on answering a post but have something useful to say like how you did now the original poster probably wont care if your late.)
     

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