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Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Dissociative Disorder from 4woman


A complex mental process known as disassociation allows children and adults to survive very painful situations, such as rape or incest. The memory of a traumatic experience is blocked from one's ongoing memory, which creates a temporary mental escape from the pain of the trauma. Because this process can produce changes in memory, people who frequently disassociate cannot recall important personal information.


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What is dissociative disorder? from NAMI


The types of dissociative disorders

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The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) is a nonprofit, grassroots, self-help, support and advocacy organization of consumers, families, and friends of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, major depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorders.


Dissociative Identity Disorder Symptoms from sidran


Dissociation is a mental process, which produces a lack of connection in a person's thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. During the period of time when a person is dissociating, certain information is not associated with other information as it normally would be. For example, during a traumatic experience, a person may dissociate the memory of the place and circumstances of the trauma from his ongoing memory, resulting in a temporary mental escape from the fear and pain of the trauma and, in some cases, a memory gap surrounding the experience. Because this process can produce changes in memory, people who frequently dissociate often find their senses of personal history and identity are affected.

Repeated dissociation may result in a series of separate entities, or mental states, which may eventually take on identities of their own. These entities may become the internal "personality states" of a DID system...

Terms often used by therapists and survivors to describe these entities are: "alternate personalities," "alters," "parts," "states of consciousness," "ego states," and "identities." It is important to keep in mind that although these alternate states may appear to be very different, they are all manifestations of a single person.


Yes. Dissociative Disorders are highly responsive to individual psychotherapy, or "talk therapy," as well as to a range of other treatment modalities, including medications, hypnotherapy, and adjunctive therapies such as art or movement therapy. In fact, among comparably severe psychiatric disorders, Dissociative Disorders may be the condition that carries the best prognosis if proper treatment is undertaken and completed.

"When faced with overwhelmingly traumatic situations from which there is no physical escape, a child may resort to "going away" in his or her head. Children typically use this ability as an extremely effective defense against acute physical and emotional pain, or anxious anticipation of that pain. By this dissociative process, thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions of the traumatic experiences can be separated off psychologically, allowing the child to function as if the trauma had not occurred."


A mind's journey- online support group for DID



Dissociative Disorders Glossary



For more information on Dissociative Identity Disorder click here.


Related links: Effects of rape


Cohen, B., Giller, E., and W---, L. (1991). Multiple Personality Disorder from the Inside Out. Baltimore, MD: Sidran Institute Press.

Kluft, R.P. (1996). Dissociative Identity Disorder. In L.K. Michelson and W.J. Ray (Eds.), Handbook of Dissociation: Theoretical, Empirical, and Clinical Perspectives (337–366). New York: Plenum Press.

Kluft, R.P. (1991). The Hospital Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 14, 695–719.

Putnam, F. (1989). Diagnosis and Treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford.

Ross, C.A. (1989). Multiple Personality Disorder: Diagnosis, Clinical Features, and Treatment. New York: Wiley.

Sands, S. (1994). "What is dissociated?" Dissociation 7, no. 3, 145–51.

Silberg, J. (Ed.) (1996). The Dissociative Child. Baltimore, MD: Sidran Institute Press.


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