Natasha Tracy Dissociative identity disorder DID causes are virtually always thought to be environmental and, specifically, related to early-life trauma. There are no known biological causes of dissociative identity disorder but DID does tend to run in families. The causes of dissociative identity disorder appear to be complex. People with dissociative identity disorder tend to have personal histories of recurring, overpowering, severe and often life-threatening traumas such as physical or sexual abuse before the age of nine; which is thought to be a key developmental age.
Definitions[ edit ] Dissociationthe term that underlies the dissociative disorders including DID, lacks a precise, empirical, and generally agreed upon definition.
Thus it is unknown if there is a common root underlying all dissociative experiences, or if the range of mild to severe symptoms is a result of different etiologies and biological structures. Psychiatrist Paulette Gillig draws a distinction between an "ego state" behaviors and experiences possessing permeable boundaries with other such states but united by a common sense of self and the term "alters" each of which may have a separate autobiographical memoryChildhood trauma dissociative identity disorder initiative and a sense of ownership over individual behavior commonly used in discussions of DID.
Efforts to psychometrically distinguish between normal and pathological dissociation have been made, but they have not been universally accepted. Other DSM-5 symptoms include a loss of identity as related to individual distinct personality states, and loss referring to time, sense of self and consciousness.
Individuals with DID may experience distress from both the symptoms of DID intrusive thoughts or emotions and the consequences of the accompanying symptoms dissociation rendering them unable to remember specific information. However, it is unclear whether this is due to an actual increase in identities, or simply that the psychiatric community has become more accepting of a high number of compartmentalized memory components.
Most identities are of ordinary people, though historical, fictional, mythical, celebrity and animal identities have been reported. Comorbid disorders can include substance abuseeating disordersanxietypost traumatic stress disorder PTSDand personality disorders.
Their conclusions about the empirical proof of DID were echoed by a second group, who still believed the diagnosis existed, but while the knowledge to date did not justify DID as a separate diagnosis, it also did not disprove its existence.
Both groups also report higher rates of physical and sexual abuse than the general population, and patients with BPD also score highly on measures of dissociation. It has been suggested that all the trauma-based and stress-related disorders be placed in one category that would include both DID and PTSD.
These central issues relating to the epidemiology of DID remain largely unaddressed despite several decades of research. Trauma model of mental disorders People diagnosed with DID often report that they have experienced severe physical and sexual abuseespecially during early to mid-childhood  although the accuracy of these reports has been disputed and others report an early loss, serious medical illness or other traumatic event.
What may be expressed as post-traumatic stress disorder in adults may become DID when occurring in children, possibly due to their greater use of imagination as a form of coping. However, a review article supports the hypothesis that current or recent trauma may affect an individual's assessment of the more distant past, changing the experience of the past and resulting in dissociative states.
Evidence is increasing that dissociative disorders are related both to a trauma history and to "specific neural mechanisms". There is very little experimental evidence supporting the trauma-dissociation hypothesis, and no research showing that dissociation consistently links to long-term memory disruption.
This behavior is enhanced by media portrayals of DID. While proponents note that DID is accompanied by genuine suffering and the distressing symptoms, and can be diagnosed reliably using the DSM criteria, they are skeptical of the traumatic etiology suggested by proponents.
Such a memory could be used to make a false allegation of child sexual abuse. There is little agreement between those who see therapy as a cause and trauma as a cause. Lower rates in other countries may be due to an artificially low recognition of the diagnosis.
Conversely, if children are found to only develop DID after undergoing treatment it would challenge the traumagenic model.Footnotes: 1 The terms “victim” and “survivor” are often used interchangeably; however, in this article, the former refers to persons who have endured through the event, but remain absorbed and constricted by the trauma, the latter, those who have learned through active post-event coping and associated growth back.
2 Ochberg, F. (, December). Dissociative Identity Disorder is caused by "overwhelming experiences, traumatic events, and/or abuse occurring in childhood", particularly when traumas begin before age 5. ,  The child's repeated, overwhelming experiences usually occur alongside disturbed or disrupted attachment between the parent/caregiver and the child.
Psychogenic amnesia or dissociative amnesia, is a memory disorder characterized by sudden retrograde episodic memory loss, said to occur for a period of time ranging from hours to years. More recently, "dissociative amnesia" has been defined as a dissociative disorder "characterized by retrospectively reported memory gaps.
These gaps involve an inability to recall personal information, . Until recently, Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and other Dissociative Disorders (DDs) have been considered to be rare and extraordinary phenomena.
It is now understood that these conditions can be common effects of severe trauma in early childhood, most typically extreme, repeated physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.
Dissociative amnesia Dissociative amnesia is a disorder in which the distinctive feature is the patient's inability to remember important personal information to a degree that cannot be explained by normal forgetfulness.
In many cases, it is a reaction to a traumatic accident or witnessing a violent crime. This Revised Edition of Attachment, Trauma and Multiplicity investigates the subject of Dissociative Identity Disorder.
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