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Dissociative identity disorder

Video transcript

this associative identity disorder which was formerly called multiple personality disorder describes cases where two or more distinct personalities or distinct identities seem to exist within a single body and both of these identities have some kind of influence on that person's thoughts or behaviors and these identities are distinct from one another they have their own mannerisms they can have different emotional responses and it can sometimes even be physical changes and I'm going to put physical in quotes here because I don't actually mean it there that there are changes in body parts in any way but there have been some cases where researchers have described at the distinct identities have different handedness so what identified is being left-handed and the other identified as being right-handed there are also cases where one of the personality is typically the original personality denies the existence of the other ones so it isn't actually aware that these other distinct personalities exist within that person so how would something like this come about research indicates that individuals who have been diagnosed with this associative identity disorder have a history of child use or some other kind of extreme life stressor and there are a lot of different theories as to how this could happen but they all seem to center on a central idea which is that under cases of extreme stress a person's conscious awareness disassociates or separates from certain painful memories or thoughts or feelings how common is disassociative identity disorder how often do we see it in a population and the answer is that disassociative identity disorder is extremely rare in fact I think that one of the only reasons that people are aware of this disorder is because it winds up in movies or books as a plot point or a plot twist and we also know about it because we sometimes hear about it in the news and by that I mean that it's been popularized by extreme and sometimes fake cases and if you have some time you can look up the case of Kenneth Bianchi who was known as the hillside strangler and he was a man who claimed that his crimes were actually the result of a different personality it was later determined that this was not the case however it did put this disorder in the news unlike the other disorders that we've talked about so far there's actually a fair amount of controversy that surrounds this one and part of that controversy has to do with how rare it is because as rare as it is in North America in the United States it's even more rare outside of America and this leads some scientists to wonder whether or not it's some kind of cultural construct instead of a real disorder others wonder if this is a disorder that can be induced by therapists so maybe a therapist who knows about this disorder and suspects that someone might have it I'd say things like do you ever feel like there is another part of you maybe maybe a part of you that you aren't always aware of and then from there that can be taken even further they might ask something like does this part have a name can I speak to this part and in response to this the individuals who are seeking therapy might intentionally or unintentionally play along with what the therapist is saying and this brings up another interesting point about personality changes and about role playing because in some way we actually all have multiple personalities the person who we are when we're in private is different from the person who we are when we're with our grandparents or our friends we all play different roles in life and we're expected to play different roles and we step up to them and we play along and we don't even think about it that's just how we act in different situations and so maybe some people and situations of extreme stress might kind of lose themselves in these different roles sort of the same way that an actor might lose themselves at a part and so these multiple personalities these supposedly distinct identities could be some kind of extreme form of role-playing maybe even one that the individual isn't aware of and at this time the answer doesn't seem to be completely clear