What is a Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a condition where an individual has two or more distinct personality states. Long ago, DID was considered to be a form of possession, whereas now, it is a disorder contained within DSM-5, categorised by 5 criteria:


  1. Two or more distinct personality states are present within an individual, each one having their own way of thinking and perceiving themselves, and the environment.
  2. When personality shifts occur, amnesia must also occur, resulting in gaps in memory for everyday events or personal information.
  3. The person with DID must be troubled by the disorder, or the disorder must negatively affect their life in one way or another
  4. The disorder must not be part of normal cultural or religious practices.
  5. The symptoms of DID must not be due to the effects of a substance (drug) or another medical condition


Excess of 70% of patients with DID have tried suicide, as a result, treatment is incredibly important to improve quality of life. The main form of treatment is psychotherapy, with the aim of joining the identity states into one. Antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs are often prescribed in addition to this.


Key Definitions:

Personality states DEF – personality states refer to dissociation from one’s usual sense of self, resulting in changes in emotion, behaviour, memory, and perception.

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