eli5 What is multiple personality disorder?


and is ethics relevant for how they ought to be treated for them aswell.

In: 0

Today it is called dissociative identity disorder. It seems to develop when a child has experienced terrible abuse. Instead of one identity, the child develops several selves or alters and each self seems to manage different sets of emotions or experiences. The alters may or may not know about each other.

It is an extremely rare disorder. Because of that there are still a lot of unknowns. Diagnosis is tricky as well.

Ethics always applies.

MPD is no longer the correct term for the diagnosis. It is “Dissociative Identity Disorder.” It is an extremely rare psychology condition found in people who experienced very intense early childhood trauma. Basically your mind ends up creating different personas to hide inside when you are in stressful situations so that it can adapt to those situations.

It’s actually very difficult for psychologists to diagnose someone with DID because a lot of the symptoms look similar to other conditions.

DID has no cure right now, and there is a lot of disagreement in the medical community about how it should be treated.

Dissociative Identity Disorder typically forms in early childhood, when an intense traumatic event (abuse, for example) prevents the child’s developing mind from integrating into a ‘complete’ psyche.

As a result of that traumatic experience, the mind forms one or more mental ‘barriers’ to protect against further trauma, and creates one or more alternate identities (alters) to manage them.

These alters are distinct individuals; they each have their own tastes in clothing and hairstyles, preferred foods and colors, and gender identities/sexual preferences. Alters have their own life experiences, and can be of any age.

Ethics are *very* relevant: for example, it’s extremely unethical to deliberately *trigger* a switch, and quite rude to do so simply because you want to speak to a particular alter. That’s kind of like inviting your friend over and spending the entire time talking to someone else.

Anyhow — there’s a lot more information than ELI5 can impart; this is only a very basic overview based on my own self-education on the topic.