We Are Survivors 

This blog is dedicated to the tens of millions of adult survivors of child abuse and neglect who get up every day and try to work and function in a world that seems to not care about us.

Dissociative Identity Disorder - Part 21

Within this series that I have been writing, I have been trying to connect the dots to show the contrast between:

  • the scientific, documented research for over 110 years of multiple personalities and members of the psychiatric community who support recovery for adult survivors of child abuse with
  • members of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation (FMSF) who come to the defense of alleged child molesters.

FMSF members have operated in full view with an air of respectability while at the same time have worked very hard behind closed doors to silence therapists and ultimately survivors. It is very insidious behavior, but since the media will not conduct an in depth honest analysis of these issues, the uninformed public believes what they read and hear.

The statistics on DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) state: “The prevalence of dissociative disorders (DD) in clinical settings ranges between:

  • 5-21% among inpatients,
  • 12-38% among outpatients, and
  • 35% among patients presenting to a psychiatric emergency room.”[1]

In spite of all their efforts, the FMSF have been unable to delete DID from the “bible” of psychiatric listings of disorders – the DSM.

In 1980, the diagnosis of MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) was included in the psychiatric book of treatable diagnoses – the DSM III. In 1994, the MPD diagnosis was renamed Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) in the DSM IV. The DSM V was released May 18, 2013 and still carries the DID diagnosis.

Changes from the DSM I to the DSM II[2]

The first time there was mention of “multiple personalities” in the DSM was in Volume II under the heading of Neuroses (300). On page 39, are the subheadings including “hysterical neurosis conversion type (300.13).” As a subheading under this was “hysterical neurosis dissociative type (300.14) which was described as “In the dissociative type, alterations may occur in the patient’s state of consciousness or in his identity, to produce such symptoms as amnesia, somnambulism, fugue and multiple personalities.”

Changes from the DSM II to DSM III

It was in 1980 that multiple personality disorder was finally recognized as a condition on its own. The DSM III changed multiple personalities from a symptom of “hysterical neurosis conversion type” to its own diagnosis which they called Multiple Personality Disorder.

Changes from the DSM III to the DSM IV[3]

DID was called Multiple Personality Disorder until 1994, when the name was changed to reflect a better understanding of the condition—namely, that it is characterized by a fragmentation, or splintering, of identity rather than by a proliferation, or growth, of separate identities.

Changes from the DSM IV to DSM V

The following changes to the DSM IV were suggested by the DSM IV work committee.

  1. Clarification of language,
  2. Different states can be reported or observed including trance and possession,
  3. Mention of experienced of possession increases global utility,
  4. Amnesia for everyday events is a common feature, and
  5. Differentiate normative cultural experiences from psychopathology.

Even though the diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder has been recognized and patients have been treated for the disorder since 1980 (over 35 years), there are still those who deny the validity of the diagnosis and who are working to eliminate it.

I will say this again, I was diagnosed for DID, worked with a trained expert therapist, and integrated about 20 personalities/alters. If I had not done that, I would not be leading the fulfilling life I have today. I was blessed and am giving back to those who desperately need help and will continue my journey by speaking truth to the falsehoods of those not only not equipped to treat DID, but to those who keep working to fool the uninformed public about this devastating illness.


[1] “A Naturalistic Study of Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder Not Otherwise Specified Patients Treated by Community Clinicians,” Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Policy, 2009, Vol. 1, No.2, 153-171.

[2] http://www.dissociative-identity-disorder.org/DSM-5.html

[3] https://www.psychologytoday.com/conditions/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder

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Effective Child Abuse Intervention - Part 1
Reversing Destructive Patterns
 

Comments 1

Lou on Thursday, 14 April 2016 04:51

This series about DID is right on. When I moved to MA and couldn't find treatment for my well-established DID, I reached out - anonymously - to Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, an advocacy organization in Boston. I received the following reply, which exposes the agenda to conflate DID with Borderline Personality Disorder (which I don't have) and then propose inappropriate treatment. This unprofessional recommendation by a was provided by a psychiatrist who never met or spoke to me, nor did he review and of my records. (BTW, I sought psychodynamic psychotherapy, not psychoanalysis as he suggests, and I was on Medicare, not Medicaid).
T:
I'm sorry to be so late getting back to you on this. I don't know how it slipped by me.
The person who contacted you describes herself as suffering from and Dissociative Identity
Disorder and asked for psychoanalytic treatment.
Her description of herself as suffering from a Dissociative Identity Disorder is very
problematic. There are many professionals who strongly contend that this disorder doesn't exist and in my 39 years of practice I've never come across one, either through my own caseload or anyone I supervised. We have over 80,000 cases and no such diagnosis. I have met many clients who described themselves as such and others who have been so diagnosed but it has never stood up to a through diagnostic analysis. In the vast majority of cases it has turned out to be a person suffering from a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who has somehow been convinced that they have a dissociative disorder. Dissociative disorders are much more fun to be than BPD. They may take on a different personality but these personalities do not have the alteration is affect, behavior, consciousness. memory, perception, cognition, or sensory-motor functioning that is required for accurate diagnosis of a dissociative disorder. I have done testing with these folks while they were in different 'personalities' and it's amazing how similar their scores are. One will expect different score if there really was another personality. One of my favorite test for this distinction is the Rorschach. They typically come up with very different percepts while being tested in one personality as opposed to another. In one persona they will see a card as a 'bat or butterfly' and in another persona they may see it as a vulture or a sting ray. To the naive individual these are different responses but when you go to score them it's the same score. There is a scoring system for the Rorschach that generates numerical scores. Different people approach the test very differently, some use the whole blot while others use a small detail, others look at edge detail or space or shading. Some see movement and others see still objects. People react to color differently, etc. The fact that one person called it a bat and another called it a vulture means nothing. Bottom line every person I've had the chance to examine with the question of dissociative disorder has come up with very similar scores while in their 'different personalities' and we have concluded that they suffer from another disorder - most commonly Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Some therapists let their imagination run away with them or lack the skills to discern the fine points. I have read that these disorders do exist and that they have been properly diagnosed and, if this is true, I think that it is very rare. American Psychiatric Association reports a prevalence rate of about 1% but I think much of this is people who have been misdiagnosed. At any rate there are few people who suffer from the disorder and even fewer therapists who know how to treat this disorder. I hope that my suspicion that she suffers from BPD is the case because there are lots of people who know how to treat that, and it's treatable through well documented evidenced based practices.
Regarding her request for a psychoanalytic therapist she may have some difficulty in finding that as well. I doubt that she will be able to find it or pay for it through Medicaid. There are few practioners left who use a psychoanalytic method because it has not been found to be very effective. There certainly are psychodynamically oriented therapists but they borrow pretty heavily from other more evidenced based approaches. I don't think she'll be able to find such a psychoanalytic therapist and I sincerely hope she doesn't because they won't be very helpful if she suffers from a personality disorder. . What she needs is a therapist who is familiar with Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT). The Bridge in Worcester is, by far, the best in DBT but most clinics have some folks who have a little of it. If it was a family member of mine I would try to convince them that it was worth the trip to Worcester.
Folks who suffer from BPD have a very empty feeling and lack a core to their personality. They can easily take on the personality characteristics of those around them so they can be confused with dissociative disorders by therapists who lack the training and skill in treating personality disorders. They also have a need to create drama around them because they are not able derive much affect from normal relationships and because the drama drives away the emptiness. They often will hook onto a therapist and convince them that they have multiple personalities and play out a lot of drama in therapy but not really make any changes in their life. It's unfortunate and my hope for her is that she can find a good solid therapist who will not bite for that and instead help her to develop interpersonal relationships, learn to express emotions, tolerate distress, manage stress and solve problems. People with BPD are also at a much higher risk for trauma and it's possible that she has suffered from trauma - something she might need to work on once she has built skills.
I don't know if this has been helpful. I fear that it hasn't been. I suspect that this unfortunate woman will need to take a less direct path to her recovery than I would wish she could follow. I truly wish I could help her to see her issues and work toward improving them but I recognize that it's her road to walk and that she, like most of us, will do what makes sense to her rather than take the advise of others.

0
This series about DID is right on. When I moved to MA and couldn't find treatment for my well-established DID, I reached out - anonymously - to Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, an advocacy organization in Boston. I received the following reply, which exposes the agenda to conflate DID with Borderline Personality Disorder (which I don't have) and then propose inappropriate treatment. This unprofessional recommendation by a was provided by a psychiatrist who never met or spoke to me, nor did he review and of my records. (BTW, I sought psychodynamic psychotherapy, not psychoanalysis as he suggests, and I was on Medicare, not Medicaid). T: I'm sorry to be so late getting back to you on this. I don't know how it slipped by me. The person who contacted you describes herself as suffering from and Dissociative Identity Disorder and asked for psychoanalytic treatment. Her description of herself as suffering from a Dissociative Identity Disorder is very problematic. There are many professionals who strongly contend that this disorder doesn't exist and in my 39 years of practice I've never come across one, either through my own caseload or anyone I supervised. We have over 80,000 cases and no such diagnosis. I have met many clients who described themselves as such and others who have been so diagnosed but it has never stood up to a through diagnostic analysis. In the vast majority of cases it has turned out to be a person suffering from a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who has somehow been convinced that they have a dissociative disorder. Dissociative disorders are much more fun to be than BPD. They may take on a different personality but these personalities do not have the alteration is affect, behavior, consciousness. memory, perception, cognition, or sensory-motor functioning that is required for accurate diagnosis of a dissociative disorder. I have done testing with these folks while they were in different 'personalities' and it's amazing how similar their scores are. One will expect different score if there really was another personality. One of my favorite test for this distinction is the Rorschach. They typically come up with very different percepts while being tested in one personality as opposed to another. In one persona they will see a card as a 'bat or butterfly' and in another persona they may see it as a vulture or a sting ray. To the naive individual these are different responses but when you go to score them it's the same score. There is a scoring system for the Rorschach that generates numerical scores. Different people approach the test very differently, some use the whole blot while others use a small detail, others look at edge detail or space or shading. Some see movement and others see still objects. People react to color differently, etc. The fact that one person called it a bat and another called it a vulture means nothing. Bottom line every person I've had the chance to examine with the question of dissociative disorder has come up with very similar scores while in their 'different personalities' and we have concluded that they suffer from another disorder - most commonly Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Some therapists let their imagination run away with them or lack the skills to discern the fine points. I have read that these disorders do exist and that they have been properly diagnosed and, if this is true, I think that it is very rare. American Psychiatric Association reports a prevalence rate of about 1% but I think much of this is people who have been misdiagnosed. At any rate there are few people who suffer from the disorder and even fewer therapists who know how to treat this disorder. I hope that my suspicion that she suffers from BPD is the case because there are lots of people who know how to treat that, and it's treatable through well documented evidenced based practices. Regarding her request for a psychoanalytic therapist she may have some difficulty in finding that as well. I doubt that she will be able to find it or pay for it through Medicaid. There are few practioners left who use a psychoanalytic method because it has not been found to be very effective. There certainly are psychodynamically oriented therapists but they borrow pretty heavily from other more evidenced based approaches. I don't think she'll be able to find such a psychoanalytic therapist and I sincerely hope she doesn't because they won't be very helpful if she suffers from a personality disorder. . What she needs is a therapist who is familiar with Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT). The Bridge in Worcester is, by far, the best in DBT but most clinics have some folks who have a little of it. If it was a family member of mine I would try to convince them that it was worth the trip to Worcester. Folks who suffer from BPD have a very empty feeling and lack a core to their personality. They can easily take on the personality characteristics of those around them so they can be confused with dissociative disorders by therapists who lack the training and skill in treating personality disorders. They also have a need to create drama around them because they are not able derive much affect from normal relationships and because the drama drives away the emptiness. They often will hook onto a therapist and convince them that they have multiple personalities and play out a lot of drama in therapy but not really make any changes in their life. It's unfortunate and my hope for her is that she can find a good solid therapist who will not bite for that and instead help her to develop interpersonal relationships, learn to express emotions, tolerate distress, manage stress and solve problems. People with BPD are also at a much higher risk for trauma and it's possible that she has suffered from trauma - something she might need to work on once she has built skills. I don't know if this has been helpful. I fear that it hasn't been. I suspect that this unfortunate woman will need to take a less direct path to her recovery than I would wish she could follow. I truly wish I could help her to see her issues and work toward improving them but I recognize that it's her road to walk and that she, like most of us, will do what makes sense to her rather than take the advise of others.

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