Psychology / Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder

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Autor:  debo4sure  22 February 2013
Words: 2563   |   Pages: 11
Views: 312

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder, falls into a questionable diagnosis amongst clinicians. The concept and validity of the anomaly of a person possessing multiple personalities, has caused much debate and disagreement between U.S. mental health care professionals and their European counterparts. This paper does not question the validity of DID, but instead, reveals truthful facts by discussing the history, etiology, major symptoms, criteria for diagnosis, treatment, and myths about this disorder.


Evidence of patients possessing multiple personalities was seen as early as 1791. During that time, Eberhardt Gmelin, credited for being the first to report a case, treated a German woman with dual personalities (Disorders). Gmelin’s assessment stated “[She] suddenly "exchanged" her own personality for the manners and ways of a French-born lady, imitating her and speaking French perfectly and speaking German as would a Frenchwoman. These "French" states repeated themselves. In her French personality, the subject had complete memory for all that she had said and done during her previous French states. As a German, she knew nothing of her French personality” (Disorders).

In 1816 an article was published in the “Medical Repository” by Dr. Samuel Latham Mitchell regarding the case of Mary Reynolds that was more influential than Gmelin’s. The Mary Reynolds case was the first case to grab the public’s attention with articles appearing in “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” in 1860. The articles described her symptoms when alternating between two different personalities that she had no memory of when the alter personality was in control (History).

More cases of multiple personalities were reported in the late 1900s and early 20th century by French psychiatrist Pierre Janet and William James, a philosophy and psychology student (Dissociative). In 1906, Morton Prince published an article titled “The Dissociation of a Personality” based on the Christine Beauchamp case. Ms. Beauchamp had three distinct personalities: one childlike, one extremely regressive, and one presented as normal. Morton introduced the term co-consciousness to clarify what takes place as a patient becomes aware of the dissociative process and how the process controls their life (Dissociative). Dissociation was later described by O’Regan as "an unconscious defense mechanism in which a group of mental activities sp ...

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