Dissociative identity disorder, abbreviated as DID, belongs to a group of mental disorders characterized by development of two distinct personality states of the same individual. The distinct personality state governs or controls the behavior of an individual at different periods .
Most often DID mimic the signs and symptoms of other mental disorders. The following are the signs and symptoms of DID:
So far there are no clinical tests to diagnose dissociative identity disorder. The diagnosis of the condition primarily begins with gathering information about the medical history of the affected individual and a thorough physical examination. In addition, X–rays and blood tests would be carried out to rule out any underlying disease conditions. In many cases, injury to the head, brain diseases, medications side effects or alcohol intoxication may produce symptoms similar to DID. Amnesia may also occur as a result of these. Therefore, a thorough checkup becomes imperative to rule out any other medical illness .
The major goal of treatment of DID is to relieve symptoms and help individuals cope with new skills so that they can comfortably express their emotions and feelings without any fear or hesitance. In many cases, combination of various methods is employed for treating DID  . Individuals with DID are given psychotherapy and cognitive therapy to help change their thinking pattern.
Such therapies also make the individuals capable to communicate their problems and conflicts. Sometimes medications are prescribed to relieve symptoms of depression, panic attacks and anxiety. A kind of treatment known as clinical hypnosis is used that employs fundamentals of deep relaxation and concentration techniques to allow the individuals to explore those thoughts that they have always hidden from their conscious minds. Such a type of treatment helps the affected individuals come face to face with reality.
Prognosis of the disease depends on the stage at which the condition was diagnosed and the extent of severity of the symptoms. In rare cases, the condition resolves on its own. However, symptoms do recur after specific periods. Prognosis usually turns poor for those individuals who are still in contact with the abusers. In such cases, chances of secondary complications in terms of suicidal ideation and self harm techniques increase .
The major and primary cause of dissociative identity disorder is trauma experienced by children during their developmental years. The trauma can occur in any form, physical, sexual and or emotional . When children fall prey to such trauma and repeatedly experience the same, they go on to develop DID which gradually begin to show effect during their later years. Trauma experienced due to natural disasters, wars or loss of a parent during early childhood all significantly contribute to DID.
Research also points towards the fact that there is some kind of heredity factor known to play foul in causation of DID.
The exact prevalence of DID is unknown, however females are more commonly affected by the disorder than males  . This might be due to the fact that the female population is more prone to sexual abuse. It has been estimated that 1 in every 25 children develops DID. The incidence of child abuse has significantly increased from the year 1976. Reports state that there were about 3 million cases of child abuse in the year 1995. To add to this, about 2000 children die due to trauma associated with abuse.
Researchers consider dissociation as a psychophysiological process. Such a kind of process is responsible for altering an individual’s thought and behavior pattern. As a result of this, certain piece of information is not interpreted in the way it should be. This in turn causes a great degree of alteration in the individual’s memory and identity, giving rise to series of psychiatric symptoms which are collectively referred to as dissociative identity disorder.
Research has also pointed towards the fact that not all children who are victims of ill treatment or any form of abuse during their developmental years would develop DID. Even though not all, but majority of them would certainly develop DID. It has been estimated that the rate of incidence of DID is higher amongst the population who have being a part of abuse during childhood years .
It is less likely to prevent the development of DID. However, onset of complications can be prevented if treatment is initiated when first sign and symptoms appear.
In the past, dissociative identity disorder (DID) was also referred to as multiple personality disorder. Such a kind of personality disorder is not a resultant reaction of substance abuse or any other medical condition. The symptoms of DID are not similar to direct psychological effects experienced due to alcohol consumption or medical illness. In children, the symptoms are far more complex than imaginary play games that form a part of certain type of mental disorders . DID is a common mental disorder affecting both the adult and children population.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a type of mental illness characterized by development of two personality states that takes charge of the affected individual at different times. It is a common condition affecting about 1 in every 25 children suffering from trauma of any kind. With timely initiation of treatment, the disorder can be effectively treated and onset of complications prevented.
Trauma is the major causative factor behind development of DID. Physical or emotional trauma or emotional stress due to wars or loss of any parent at an early age all cause DID to set in. Children who are victims of abuse during their early developmental years gradually showcase symptoms of DID during adulthood.
Symptoms of DID are similar to any other mental disorder and include depression, anxiety, amnesia, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, substance abuse, mood swings, changes in sleep pattern, nervousness, depersonalization, severe headache and body ache.
Information on the past medical history of the patient is gathered followed by thorough physical examination. In addition, certain blood tests are done to rule out presence of underlying disease conditions.
Combination of various therapies such as cognitive therapy, psychotherapy and clinical hypnosis forms the basis of treatment regime. In addition, medications may also be prescribed to relieve certain associated symptoms.