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Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

Dissociative Identity Disorder was previously known as Multiple Personality Disorder. It describes individuals who have two or more distinct identities or personalities, each with its own distinct and relatively consistent pattern of attitudes and behaviors. Sometimes these different identities are experienced as having different personal histories, different reported age, gender, vocabulary and general knowledge, and even different names. At least two of these identities will repeatedly take control of the person's behavior.

The person will be unable to recall important details of their personal information in a way that is too extensive to be explained by normal forgetfulness, and the forgotten information usually pertains to an alternate identity. Sometimes one personality will have some knowledge or memories of some of the others.

Individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder can also experience auditory or visual hallucinations, which are thought to be due to an inactive personality gaining access into the consciousness of the currently active personality.

This diagnosis should not be made if the symptoms are due to a general medical condition or to the effects of a particular substance. Also, in children the symptoms should be differentiated from a normal tendency to have imaginary playmates or to engage in other forms of fantasy play.


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