Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is considered by the American Psychiatric Association to be one of 4 main kinds of dissociative disorders (DSM-IV): "The essential feature of dissociative disorders is a disturbance or alteration in the normally integrative functions of identity, memory, or consciousness.” If identity is the main function affected, the person is said to have DID.
“Most non-DID people have one identity comprised of many parts that work harmoniously together. They have only one personality that consists of a conglomeration of thoughts and feelings formed from connections between many different brain areas. People with DID, however, have a decentralized, internal network of 2 or more personalities or "alters," each with its own physiology, behavior, and cognitions.” (Kaplan)
Dissociation often enables victims to maintain a relatively healthy level of functioning because traumatic memories are disconnected from other information in their minds.
The stress is known to come from severe physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse at a developmentally sensitive stage in childhood.
In order to survive extreme stress, many children psychologically separate thoughts, feelings, memories, and perceptions of traumatic experiences. This coping method becomes increasingly ingrained the more frequent the abuse. The resulting highly conditioned, hypersensitive survival technique leads to impaired functioning. A person with a young child as one of his alters might bring out that child whenever there is even the slightest threat of an anxiety-provoking situation. In this way, if a traumatic event occurs, the pain gets isolated to one faction, a storage space, of the overall personality.
I would like to stress at this point the importance of trauma in the development of DID. This is because in the following parts of this paper, I will bring to light the barbaric manner in which DID has been...