Just about everyone is aware to some degree of split personalities. But do we actually understand what this means? March 5 is set aside to spread awareness of this condition and encourage people to truly understand who they are.
National Multiple Personality Day – which falls on March 5th every year is a celebration that focuses on the different facets of people with multiple personality disorder. The special day is reserved to not only encourage people to get in touch with their inner selves, but it’s also a day to spread awareness of this condition that affects many people across the globe.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formally known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), is characterised by the presence of two or more distinct or split identities or personality states that continually have power over the person’s behaviour. It is thought to stem from a combination of factors that may include trauma experienced by the person with the disorder and the dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism.
Along with the dissociation and multiple or split personalities, people with dissociative disorders may experience a number of other psychiatric problems, including symptoms such as:
- Mood swings
- Suicidal tendencies
- Sleep disorders
- Anxiety, panic attacks and phobias
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Psychotic-like symptoms, including auditory and visual hallucinations
- Eating disorders
- Trances or an ‘out of the body’ experience
Statistics show the rate of dissociative identity disorder is .01% to 1% of the general population.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the average number of personalities an individual has is 10, though there can be up to 100.
Some people with dissociative disorders have a tendency toward self-persecution, self-sabotage, and even violence that can be both self-inflicted and outwardly directed.
The ‘alters’ or the different ‘identities’ have their own age, sex, or race. Each has his or her own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking.
Findings show that in families where parents are frightening and unpredictable, the children may have a chance of becoming dissociative.