Imagine that you have two different personality structures living with you. One loves watermelon while the other hates it, one is left-handed while the other is right-handed. It must sound strange. If we go further, imagine these two different personalities wearing different degrees of prescription glasses or they are allergic to different substances! But all of them are actually you. These personalities are inside you. Although all this may seem strange, there are people who have these experiences and these people are diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. So what is dissociative identity disorder?
According to DSM-5, a person must have at least 2 distinct personalities (alters), different entities, thoughts, feelings and behaviors. In addition, these sub-personalities must be unaware of each other and appear at different times. For example, if a person is under the influence of a pollen-allergic personality, that personality will affect their activities. It will try to stay away from grass and woodlands. However, when this situation is explained to him later, he will have difficulty making sense of it. Dissociative identity disorder causes great difficulties in people’s lives.
Let’s take a look at the story of a patient who was admitted to the hospital with the complaint of vaginismus in 1999 and was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and was found to have a dissociative identity disorder in the hospital where he was finally admitted. The following is stated by Ms. N.: “I’m starting to watch TV. When I suddenly come to my senses, I realize with amazement that the movie is over and another movie has started. I don’t know how I spend my day. I went out and visited a friend the other day. I was surprised when he told me this. Because I didn’t remember anything about it.”
“There are voices inside me that do not belong to me, that guide me. I can even distinguish one of them quite well. A male voice. From time to time, with the effect of that voice, I speak more masculine, I act like a man.” He described what he went through during sexual intercourse with his wife as follows: “I don’t remember very clearly. But I vaguely remember a fear creeping into me, pushing my wife back. I feel stronger at that time than I have ever felt before, and I become rigid. ”. His wife said that Ms. N. became very rude during sexual intercourse and almost turned into a man who looked at her with anger. She also described visual hallucinations: “There are Casper-like creatures in the house. Above the door. Sometimes they play games with me. They’re kidding me. They’re hiding some of my stuff.”
Apart from the symptoms, if we look at the situations in which dissociative identity disorder is seen more frequently, we can say that it is more common in women than men. In addition, the age of onset is specified as childhood. Although it is defined in the DSM, its very low incidence makes it controversial to be considered a disorder.