What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative Identity Disorder was known as Multiple Personality Disorder until 1994. It was later changed to the present name to have a better understanding of the condition. Dissociative Identity Disorder mainly involves fragmentation or splitting of the personality into two or more separate identities, with the identities having their own sex, race, postures, habits, and temperament. The personalities or “alters,” as we call them, have the power to influence the mind, behavior, and thoughts of the person. There is also an ability to recall vital information.
The alters can be imaginary people or even animals, and the switching between personalities can happen over a matter of few seconds to days. DID is believed to appear 9 times more in females than in males.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dissociative Identity Disorder?
The symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) can disrupt the mental functioning of any person having the disorder. Symptoms include:
- The presence of two or more personality or identity states. The identity states, or alters, have their own set of behavioral and thinking pattern and each of them is distinct and seems real.
- There is a noticeable difference in everyday events and routine. The person experiences short-term memory loss about personal information, previous events, birthdays, weddings, names and even sometimes important occasions like the birth of a child.
- At times, a person with DID fails to remember how and why he is at a particular place.
- DID people are often accused of lying when in fact they are not. This is because they fail to explain many things and do not remember facts.
- The above symptoms shoot off other related symptoms causing social, emotional and psychological disturbances in life.
- Hear noises inside their head which they do not recognize.
- One of the identities fails to recognize a face while the other identity can recall the same face at another time.
- Do not recognize themselves in the mirror.
- DID people have a sense of detachment. They feel as though they as if they are not living their own life but watching it from a distance.
- They feel they are more than one person.
DID people have other related psychiatric symptoms like:
- Frequent changes in mood, depression.
- Eating disorders, sleeping problems like insomnia, sleepwalking, and nightmares.
- High levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias.
- Person hallucinates, imagines seeing and hearing things which are not actually present.
- Overuse of alcohol and drugs.
- Compulsive and repetitive activity.
- Suicidal tendency.
What Are The Causes Of Dissociative Identity Disorder?
- People develop DID mainly as a response to trauma. They detach from oneself in order to cope with trauma symptoms.
- DID can afflict a person at any age; however, studies show that the disorder is relatively common in people who are related to persons suffering from this condition.
- Causes of DID seem to be vague. However, research suggests when a person faces severe emotional, physical or sexual abuse for a long time; he tends to withdraw and dissociate to cope up with the trauma. Disconnecting oneself from one’s feelings, thoughts and actions work, like an escape mechanism for the person to deal with the situation.
- Usually, when a person has experienced extreme forms of violence, subjected to life-threatening situations or faced highly volatile emotional or sexual disturbances during childhood or later years, he may be at risk of developing DID.
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Dissociative Identity Disorder?
- In case your child or the family member has undergone severe trauma, prevent him from developing DID by taking him to a therapist. Help him overcome the trauma by talking, caring and understanding his needs.
- For a person who has DID, the family should attend training programs where they teach how to handle a DID patient.
- Living with a DID person is quite difficult. So, be alert and take consent before you touch them.
- Talking to other people with the same problem will help you gain different perspectives and help you deal with all situations.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Dissociative Identity Disorder?
- Do not be insensitive to a DID person. Asking unnecessary questions about the different identities or alters will irk up the person.
- Do not ask which one of alters is the real one. For a DID person, all alters are real and different entities.
- Do not expect anything from them, on the contrary, try to make life easy for them by helping in day to day work.
What Are The Best Foods For Dissociative Identity Disorder?
There is no such specific diet for dissociative identity disorder patients. However, a nutritional diet is very important for a healthy body. Only when the body is healthy, it will be able to tackle any kind of disease or disorder and help in the recovery process.
A balanced diet with adequate carbohydrates, protein, essential fats, vitamins, and minerals will keep anxiety levels low, beat depression, and pep up the mood. Some of the foods which might impact the functioning of the brain are:
- Omega 3 fatty acids: Scientists have found that omega 3 fatty acids positively affect the brain’s functioning and help in reducing anxiety, depression and other mental illness. Oily fish like salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel, seeds and nuts (flax seeds and walnuts) are rich in omega 3 fatty acids.
- Complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy for the brain. Simple carbohydrates like refined flour, sugar, and processed food create low mood by spiking blood sugar levels. Opt for complex carbohydrates present in whole grains like wheat, oats, barley, quinoa, millet, brown rice, etc.
- Lean protein: After carbohydrates, protein is the most abundant substance found in the body. An amino acid called tryptophan works as a mood enhancer. Protein is found in foods like lean meat, fish, beans, eggs, turkey, etc.
- Leafy green vegetables: Greens like spinach, broccoli, fenugreek, turnip leaves, etc. are rich in vitamins and folic acid which are good to beat depression, insomnia, and fatigue.
- Fruits: Fruits are rich sources of vitamins and minerals which help in the general development and functions of body organs, including the brain.
What Are The Worst Foods For Dissociative Identity Disorder?
- Processed and food with high glycaemic index aggravates depression levels.
- Avoid sugary foods like sweets, cakes, pastries, and doughnuts as they tend to shoot up glucose level in the blood causing anxiety.
- Avoid fried food as they are high in fat content and are not healthy.
- Some studies have shown that food containing trans fats like microwave buttery popcorn, frozen pizza, refrigerated dough, coffee creamer, margarine, frosting, etc. decrease cognitive functions and lessen the total volume of the cerebrum.
What Are The Medicines For Dissociative Identity Disorder?
What Are The Tips To Manage Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Dissociative identity disorder is a serious mental condition, and it is real. Family plays a very important role in the management and treatment of this disease. In order to handle the volatile nature of the patient, family members have to get acquainted with the symptoms and should understand that for a DID patient, each of the alters is a real identity and should be treated as such.