Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) Essay, Research Paper
Introduction:Multiple personalities is a dissociative condition in which an individual?s personality is apparently split into two or more distinct sub-personalities, each of which may become dominant at different times. People with multiple personality disorder suffer from internal chaos, roller-coaster emotions and terrible memories. They also present confusing confusing and contradictory images to their family and friends. But in spite of all this, MPD is a treatable disorder.
In theory, the developmental process behind MPD is a result of resorting to a mental escape from a traumatic situation. This is essentially achieved when neither fleeing nor fighting can be used as a defense option, which leads the individual to distance themselves from the incident to retain control. This distancing mechanism is characterized by detachment from the self or surroundings, excluding unwanted or unneeded feelings from awareness, and partial or total amnesia from the emotions associated with the traumatic event. In essence, this process allows the individual to separate the traumatic memories from ordinary consciousness to preserve some areas of healthy functioning. This entire process is referred to as dissociation. Dissociation serves as an adaptive function, as it allows the individual to escape from the traumatic event while it is underway. However repeated reliance on dissociative defenses can lead to the inability to properly process information from past and future events. It is theorized that the repeated use of dissociation can lead to the development of a series of separate mental states, which may eventually take on an identity of their own.
The Cause:Multiple personalities stem from very traumatic childhood events. Multiple personality disorder (MPD) is a dissociative disorder. Dissociation is normal everyday human activity. For example, you are dissociated when you lose track of time when you are watching a movie. You are also dissociative when you are daydreaming and lost in thought. Everyone dissociates to some extent, but it becomes a problem when it starts to interfere with your work, or the quality of your life.
On the average, the onset of multiple personalities occurs at about four years of age. Everyone knows that children have wild imaginations. They use there minds to create playmates and wondrous scenarios. Using this ability, a child who is constantly tortured and terrified over a period of time may create other children within themselves to survive and endure the pain. These other personalities are called ?alters? and may develop permanency, so that the identity of a single child fragments into many children in a single body. These abused children are often warned by their abusers to maintain secrecy. Therefore horrid memories get buried deep into the caves of the unconscious, each alter shielding his or her own traumatic memory. This also allows each alter to become more independent.
Multiple personality disorder is very rare and is only found in about one percent of the population. It is also believed that seven percent of the population has experienced at least some sort of dissociative disorder in their life. Certain feelings are common to people with multiple personalities. Most MPD individuals usually suffer from unreasonable fear, and this fear often evolves into terror. They also have large blocks of missing memories. Some symptoms of MPD are depression, anxiety, excessive compulsive behaviour, seizures, epilepsy, blackouts, headaches, and fatigue.
Multiple Personalities is not just one disorder, but is made up of many different dissociative disorders.
Treatment:There is no real cure for multiple personality disorder, the only treatment is forcing the repression of the alter personalities. The first step in treating this disorder is to find a psychotherapist who is familiar with dissociative disorders and who has taken special training in MPD. You should also call the ISSMP&D (International Society for the Study of Multiple Personality & Dissociation) to help you find a competent professional to help treat your MPD.
Hypnosis:Hypnosis is the universal tool in treating MPD. If you have MPD, you are in a trance state everyday, and through hypnosis your inner personality system may be more easily accessed. Hypnosis also allows the patient to recall memories without being overwhelmed by trauma of remembering the event. Hypnosis also usually tends to raise trust issues between the doctor and the patient which is a big factor in getting treated. Hypnosis also shows the patient the difference between the past and the present, and lets each alter know that change is possible. It is also necessary to use therapeutic work to help move the MPD alters down the dissociation spectrum.
Group Therapy:Your Therapist will probably advise you against group therapy. This recommendation is usually warranted if the style of the group is to reveal traumatic events by the use of drama or art (emotional catharsis). This is to protect the patient from re-traumatization. Many MPD patients report that non-intrusive groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Survivors of Incest Anonymous and Twelve Step MPD groups provide them with real comfort.
Fusion:As therapy proceeds, the alter parts may form an alliance, and share their complementary talents and help one another. Some alters may fuse spontaneously and in this fusion, one alter becomes part of another alter and vice versa. There is a joining of memories, thoughts, feelings and behaviors so that nothing is lost. After most dissociative memories have been reclaimed by the patient and all parts of the patient so that there is one common memory, there will no longer be a need for internal secrecy and separateness. The patient will have learned that his or her survival is no longer threatened, and that the abuse happened a long time ago and the patient is now able to care for him or herself. One by one, the different alters will learn through observation and experience that they will be more productive and self-directed once they have gone through the process of fusion. Fusion does not always occur, alters may wish not to fuse and stay single, but the alter be in a state less than an MPD alter. A real fusion will last a minimum of three months, and individual alters will not be reachable by hypnosis. The patient will also no longer hear separate voices inside. But sometimes fusions do not last and the alters break away and become a separate personality once again.
Post-Fusion Therapy:If the fusion holds, you must now learn how to function in the world as a single, and as a newly formed personality. This process can be very confusing and patients may find themselves becoming MPD again. Because of this, this stage must last at least a year. Therapy for MPD is not mysterious, it helps to bring a clearer understanding to the patient to help them on their journey to wholeness.
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http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro99/web3/Sancar.html#72. The Spectrum of Dissocative Disorders
http://www.voiceofwomen.com/centerarticle.html3. The Fractured Mirror
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