Dissociative identity disorder (in the past called multiple personality
disorder) is a rare condition in which a person has two or more separate
personalities. The person often does not know that the other personalities
exist. And he or she cannot recall events that occur when the other personalities are
The condition is not due to substance abuse or another medical
Dissociative identity disorder is likely linked to severe childhood
trauma. The person's defense mechanism separates different
aspects of his or her own personality in order to deal with the physical and
emotional pain. Eventually, new "personalities" emerge and establish their own
lifestyles in the same individual.
Professional counseling is usually the main treatment for this
condition. The goal is to slowly merge the different aspects of the
personalities together (integration).
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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