Split personality disorder is a type of psychiatric disorder in which a person has two distinct and different types of personalities which control his behavior from time to time. Split personality was also called multiple personality disorder. But recently new medical terminology known as dissociative personality disorder is being used.
The behavior of a person suffering from this disorder may be different at one time than at other times. In simple words the same person may behave differently at different times. For example at one time he may be pious and devoted to god.
Many from medical field find it difficult to believe two types of personalities prevailing in a same person. However, many people suffering from this personality disorder show two different types behavior. Depending on the situation, the predominant personality subdues and the sub personality appears in the forefront.
What Causes Split Personality Disorder?
Split personality is found more common in women, although there are many men who suffer from the same.
The trauma can be in any form, such as emotional trauma, physical or sexual abuse. It may also result from environmental traumatic conditions such as war, flood, and any other natural disaster.
Loss of parent in early age may also play a role in development of split personality in later years of life in a child. Since the condition also runs in family, hereditary aspect is not ruled out.
Signs And Symptoms Of Split Personality Disorder
The symptoms of split personality are similar to many other mental disorders.
- Patient with this disorder may have changes in the level of his functioning. This means a highly active person may become disabled and inactive at other times.
- These persons are found to have memory lapses. They sometimes are in total amnesia of certain things. For example they may not remember important event such as birthday, marriage anniversary etc.
- Hallucinations are common among patients of split personality. It can be visual or auditory.
- Sudden emotional changes are common in these patients. At one time they are found to be depressed and at other time extremely happy and elated.
- Suicidal attempts and causing injury to self is common among these patients.
- Patients with split personality often have panic attacks and become extremely nervous.
- Drug abuse and substance abuse is common among them. They feel that they are compelled to indulge in such behavior although they do not intend to do it.
- The quality of life is affected in such patients because they are not able to keep and maintain relationship at personal and professional level.
Treatment For Split Personality Disorder
Management goal of treating this condition is to reconnect various personality traits into one identity. Diagnosis of split personality is difficult as the physician has to rely only on the history and description of symptoms that are told to him by the patient as well as his friends and relatives. There is no specific test to determine the condition.
Various treatment options are brought together such as psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, hypnosis, and medications. Treatment is for long time and often patient stops taking the treatment in between. In such situation it has to be started from the beginning.
Support from family is essential for the patient in coping up with the condition.