When children go through a traumatic experience whether it is physical or sexual abuse, natural disaster, kidnapping, war, and many other experiences where an adult did not protect them, that child will “go away” in their head as a defense mechanism and another personality will take form. This is called Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) which starts as a child and continues through adulthood.
According to HealthyPlace, 1% of the population is affected by this disorder and the trauma that creates DID can occur less than nine years of age. There can be eight to thirteen personalities in one person and in some cases, there could be a hundred. Each personality will have distinctive names, temperaments, identities, and self-image. DID must be treated as early as possible to integrate the personalities into one and confront trauma or this disorder will stay for life.
This can be a painful and confusing disorder for people to have. The patient affected can have weakening relationships as different personalities, or alters, can appear at any given time with no awareness of which one will come. It is possible for the patient not to remember large parts of their childhood as those memories resurfacing can bring them distress. They can experience sudden returns of memories in the form of a flashback or experience hallucinations. Unexplained events can occur along with not being aware of them like finding yourself somewhere and not remembering getting there. A DID patient can feel disconnected or detached from their body or thoughts and even have differences in hand-writing.
It is very important for those with DID to be treated immediately or else this condition will last a lifetime. Psychotherapy can last five to seven years in adults which deals with the integration of the separate personalities into one unified personality. A therapist will work on techniques with the patient to help work through the trauma they have endured that triggered these symptoms. The patient would have their alters uncovered and help treat traumatic memories.
Families of the DID patient can learn about the traumatic causes of the patient and to help the family recognize the symptoms.There is no medication for DID but antidepressants and anxiolytics can help with mood disorders. Clinical hypnosis can help access repressed memories, control problematic behaviors like self-mutilation, and help fuse alters. Confronting a patient’s traumatic memories and receiving support can help with a full recovery.
Trauma is a common experience for those who develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Healing trauma of the past changes the way we view our present and helps us create a new, brighter future. Treatment for addiction should include skilled clinical approaches to treating trauma. Recovery should be simple. At Simple Recovery, our multi-tiered program is designed to help your loved one find success on a new path in life through school, work, and meaningful volunteering. Structured for progress, clients at Simple Recovery transition seamlessly through each phase of their recovery.
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