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Dissociative Identity Disorder Essay

860 words - 4 pages

Dissociative identity disorder, DID, commonly known as multiple personality disorder is best characterized as a condition in which an individual displays at least two personalities that routinely control said individuals personality and behavior. Often times, theses personalities are associated with memory loss. In order for one experiencing multiple personalities to be diagnosed, the symptoms must not be a product of drug use or a general medical condition.
DID is often the result of severe trauma during early childhood commonly an extreme, constant physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse. According to psychologist Pierre Janet’s study of dissociated patients, 44% presented a ...view middle of the document...

Both the alters and the primary personality may have no recollection of the events that took place when an alternate personality takes over.
The aforementioned case of Sybil brought about a drastic increase in the amount of patients diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. Speculations of this case being a fraud have brought to light articles such as The “Sybil Tapes”: Exposing the Myth of Dissociative Identity Disorder. These publications use Sybil’s case as a point of reference to prove that some patients have been misdiagnosed by psychologists. Statistics show that in the 1970’s there were only 79 cases of DID documented in literature. In the mid 1980’s the number increased to 6,000. By the end of the 20th century, although difficult to accurately determine, the number of cases has been estimated to be at 40,000. (Lynn & Deming, 2010) The majority of these positive diagnoses are found in North America, the result from this is the belief that DID is a phenomenon only occurring in this region of the world.
In the case of Sybil Dorset, she developed 16 different personalities over a span of 23 years. All of her alters were extraordinarily talented with art, each personality could be seen through the different pieces of her art work. For example, one of Sybil’s alters, a toddler named Ruthie that was known for her exceptional coloring skills, would use crayons to create her masterpieces. While her “older” alters would create more sophisticated pieces using paint as opposed to crayons. The reason behind the fame of Sybil’s case comes from the excessive amount of publicity she received from books, movies produced by Flora Rheta Schreiber's and...

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