Brain and Behavior
December 5, 2012
There are 4 main criteria that must be met in order to reach a diagnosis for dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. These four criteria are as follows:
* Two or more distinct identities or personality states
* Inability to recall important personal information to the extent that it cannot be explained by forgetfulness.
* The disturbance is not due to the effects of any substance
* Specifically in children, the symptoms cannot be attributed to imaginary friends or the like.
When alternative identities begin to appear they may in a variety of ages, gender, and vocabulary. Each identity denies the existence of the other identity or identities. Those with this disorder will experience frequent gaps in memory, hostile personalities will have more complete sets of memories whereas the more passive identities will be constricted. The identity that is not in control may gain access to the individual’s consciousness through auditory or visual hallucinations. A great deal of emphasis is placed on the amnesia experienced by individuals. Certain time frames in their biological memory may be missing, as well as recent events they do not recall occurring. Typically individuals will switch identities when there is a great deal of psychosocial stress. This transition can occur in a matter of seconds, but also may be a gradual process. Things such as rapid blinking, facial changes, changes in voice/demeanor, or an interruption in the individuals train of thought are associated with the transfer of identities. 50% of the reported cases of dissociative identity disorder claim to have 10 or fewer identities. (DSM IV, 2000)
It seems that dissociate identity disorder is more common among first degree relatives then in the general population. This implies that there is a genetic component to the disorder. (DSM IV, 2000).