Altering Personalities: Multiple Personality Disorder Essay

Altering Personalities: Multiple Personality Disorder              Some people experience alternating behaviors and attitudes from time to time. They seem normal and yet on the psychological aspect, this kind of state offers the possible symptoms of a disorder – Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD).

MPD is a disorder in which a person notifies having spacious accounts of activities s/he had ever done, add to this s/he also projects or hosts different attitudes and behaviors (Putnam, 12). In 1994, the American Psychiatric Association replaced its name from MPD to DID that stands for Disassociation Identity Disorder. The name had been changed but the disorder itself is hard to recognize that still need for an extensive research.Mental Personality Disorder: History              Accounts of “demonic possession” in the past had been relatively similar to what the distinct symptoms of MPD today. Yet, the assumption that these cases may really have been MPD could not further classified as factual. The first complete account of personality disorder dated back in 1986.

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This was followed by the thorough study of Pierre Janet and his discovery of the instance of having split thoughts that is different from one’s personality.  He discovered this phenomenon when he hypnotized his female patients.  Later on, William James, father of American psychology, discovered the same effects that he called as disassociation.

Since then, the concept of multiple personalities had been extremely questioned if it was really possible and if it existed at all. Today, many impending cases of MPD are diagnosed in the United States. Professionals believed that the disorder is culture-based, or caused by the unique genetic make-up and human characteristic. Although there are still further research and investigation on this disorder, a much needed awareness is highly endorsed by the psychologists and health therapists.

Causes of MPD / DID              Those affected with MPD are mostly victims of abuse, physically and sexually, when they are young, according to a study. The child, after severely abused, becomes more aware in their environment and of the people around them. Because of this, they learn to detached themselves from the reality, with the belief that the abuse had never really happened and with this, they disassociate themselves as part of their defense mechanism. This disassociation then hinders the flow of thoughts and emotions that the abused victim is having. This triggers for them to have secrets, which in progress would result of them not even remembering most accounts of their childhood memories.

Their memory had been affected because of the traumatic experience of abuse. With this, there emerge their different personalities that have intensely differing views on the incident of abuse. Until now, researchers are still examining other possible causes of this personality disorder and part of their research is to prove that the disorder could be inherited.Symptoms of MPD / DID              A diagnosed person with multiple personality disorder can have a hundred and more different personalities. The personalities may differ or have similarities with the others, but there would always be a distinction among them.

The alteration could be observed with the action, gestures, posture, attitudes, ways of speaking, hair style as well as in the way of dressing that signifies that the disorder is present. The person suffering from MPD experiences the changes in less than a minute. This cause for them to lose their memories which is noted as a symptom of the disorder. Another symptom is the depersonalization. In his original self or state, the person who have this kind of disorder sometimes feel that they do not belong to their original body or that their soul leaves the body during the alteration period. They believe that they knew what was happening in the reality yet they do not have control of their bodies. They see themselves as spectator who watches from behind, while their “other self” maneuver and dominates their bodies.Accounts of MPD / DID              There had been many people diagnosed with this kind of disorder however remained anonymous for personal reasons and privacy.

Nevertheless, one account of this disorder had been in the papers just recently because it was acquired by a well-known pop sensation. Britney Spears had been accounted to have multiple personality disorder last January of this year. The troubled singer, after having divorce with her former husband was claimed suffering from disassociation.

Prior to this, she also appears to involve talking to her latest boyfriend with a British accent. Other personalities, aside from “British girl” alters from”weepy girl” to “the dive” and “the confused girl” from time to time. It was believed that Spears had suffered from this disorder because of the recent “downfalls” in her life. Her divorce with her so-called husband and failure for her child’s custody consumes all her emotional state, resulting for this disorder. She indeed confessed that she had periods in which she had no account of what she had been doing – an obvious evidence or symptom for MPD / DID.Treatment for MPD / DID              MPD, unlike any other disorder, could not easily be vanished without treatment.

Treatments for this kind of disorder could last years, starting with a long term psychotherapy that should be observed twice a week. Each session under this treatment undergo a method in which the therapist tries to establish trust with the main or original self of the patient. Once trust is established, the emotional issues of the other alter selves are addressed. The main and alter personalities are encouraged to share their “personal” accounts, issues and communicate well with each other.

Hypnosis is the most effective and commonly used tool to achieve possible results in this therapy. Along with the therapy, the therapists also assist the patient to concede and acknowledge the physical and sexual abuse done to them. In this way, the patient then, in turn, learns to cope well with the matter and would no longer resolve in having to disassociate him/her self from the reality.              Multiple Personality Disorder is a psychological disease that does exist until today. Its existence, although had not been clearly determined, had resulted for many people to become more aware of their psychological or emotional incapacity.

The personalities that alter from one another while being in this state, serves different purpose. It may look not that serious nonetheless, there are possible dangers while being in the alternate personality. It could bring destruction to the original self and so, it should be regarded as a serious and delicate state that requires full attention and further evaluation.References:Multiple personality disorder – history and incidence, causes of multiple personality disorder, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Retrieved June 6, 2008, from Science Encyclopedia Website:, F.

  (1989). Diagnosis and treatment of multiple personality disorder. New York: The Guilford Press.Kluft, R. (1993).

Clinical perspectives on multiple personality disorder (1st edition). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing


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