10 Surprising Facts about DID
- DID is one of several types of dissociative disorders. Other types are depersonalized or derealization disorders and dissociative amnesia.
- There are 2.5 million people in the United States who suffer from DID. Almost 50% of American adults have experienced at least one dissociative episode, but the majority of them do not qualify for treatment.
- Around 1% of the world population suffers from DID, making the disorder rare.
- Some people diagnosed with DID are victims of childhood trauma from emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. Moreover, as many as 10% of these people reported experiences with childhood sexual abuse (CSA). Countries that experience large-scale trauma, such as war or natural disasters, are likely to have more cases of DID.
- DID is most common in countries from North America and Europe. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that over 1 million cases of DID are in the United States.
- More than 70% of people with DID have attempted suicide and other self-harm behaviors.
- DID was first considered a dissociative disorder. However, it was moved to the trauma-based category. Episodes of dissociation may occur not only in one’s home but also outdoors or even in the workplace, especially when there is a history of trauma and triggers in that place.
- A person with this condition may experience nightmares, sudden flashbacks, visual or auditory hallucinations, intense emotions, extreme headaches, memory gaps or dissociative amnesia, and loss of consciousness and sense of identity. However, these symptoms may also correlate with psychosis, so consulting a medical professional is recommended.
- Dissociation may occur due to childhood trauma experienced as early as nine years of age. In terms of gender, women are more likely to be diagnosed with DID than men, at a ratio of 10:1.
- In order to raise awareness about DID, this disorder has been featured in movies and television. Some examples are “The Three Faces of Eve,” “The United States of Tara,” and “Sybil.”
Debunking the Myths about DID
- DID stems from childhood trauma — DID is associated with significant issues in child-parent relationships, but this is not always the case. DID may also be caused by trauma experienced during teenage years or even adulthood, such as rape, harassment, war, or even natural disasters.
- DID is something new — The first documented case of DID was recorded in 1584, although it was not yet labeled as DID. This patient exhibited the traits of a “spiritually possessed person.” Later on, Multiple Personality Disorder (now referred to as DID) was discovered and diagnosed by physician Jean-Martin Charco in the 1880s. It was characterized by symptoms of hysteria and epilepsy.
- DID is so rare as to be irrelevant — DID is rare, considering the percentage of its population, which is about 1.5% of the global population. However, over 100 million people have this condition, which is a considerably large number. It is not genetic and is generally caused by environmental conditions. This means that anyone with past traumatic experiences is at risk.
- DID is not a real disorder — The clinical results and research have proven that DID is a mental health condition or disorder. It is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III) in the category of mental disorders.
How the Media and Pop Culture Portrays DID
Other Known Truths About DID
Management and Treatment Methods
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is considered the best and most effective method of treating DID. A specialized healthcare professional, such as a psychiatrist, can help patients acknowledge and work with their past traumas, manage their impulsive behaviors, and eventually merge the multiple personalities into a single identity. This process can be effectively supported by an intensive outpatient program for adolescents.