What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Here is all you need to know about Dissociative Identity

Dissociative Identity, which was earlier known as multiple personality disorder is a dramatic dissociative disorder in which a patient manifests two or more distinct identities that alternate in some way in taking control of behaviour.

These identifies may be very different from each other and might have different personal history, self-image, name, sex etc or they might be partially different with no major distinction.

Dissociative Identity Disorder
Representative Image

The alter identities may differ in striking ways which include age, handedness, handwriting, sexual orientation, prescription for eyeglasses, foreign languages spoken, and general knowledge. The identities are often that of a child and someone of the opposite sex.

When one identity takes over the person, the other identities are usually not aware of it and this results in memory gaps. This disorder has faced a lot of criticism because many people believe that it can easily be faked.

If not faked, questions about the causation of the disorder also possess some major issues. Many believe that childhood instances of sexual abuse can lead to the development of the disorder.

Since DID is very dramatic in nature, it has received a lot of importance over the years and publicity through books, movies and television.

To understand this disorder a little better, here is a list of books that you can give a read.

* Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber is probably one of the first major works that increased awareness about this disorder amongst people. The book is about a girl called Sybil Dorset who suffered from Multiple Personality Disorder (it was known as MPD earlier). The book explores the treatment technique used by her psychoanalyst Cornelia B. Wilbur to treat the 16 different personalities she possessed. It is an interesting read with some parts that will give you goosebumps.

• I’m Eve by Chris Costner Sizemore is an autobiographic of a woman who suffers from MPD. Being an autobiography, the book perfectly captures the feelings of the patient. A book called “Three faces of Eve’ talks about this same case, but was written by Chris’s psychotherapist Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley.
• A Fractured Mind by Robert B. Oxnam again talks about the struggles a man faced while going through MPD.

• First Person Plural:  My Life As a Multiple by Cameron West is a personal account of how the writer developed MPD.

• The Sum of My Parts:  A Survivor’s Story of Dissociative Identity Disorder by Olga R. Trujillo is a widely popular book that talks about the sufferings faced by the writer that led her to develop MPD. It also talks about her therapy and the heroic journey she took to grow as a person.

Here are some psychological thrillers that you can watch:

• Fight Club- This is one of the best known movies that depicted DID in the finest possible way. Directed by David Fincher, the movie stars Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. The plot line of the movie is so interesting that by the end, the viewer is at the edge of their seats. This movie should definitely feature in your ‘Movies to watch before I die’.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

• Bhool Bhulaiyaa- A remake of 1993 Malayalam film, Manichitrathazhu, this Bollywood movie stars Akshay Kumar, Vidya Balan, AmeeshaPatel and Shiney Ahuja in the lead. Directed by Priyadarshan, this movie takes an interesting plot turn in the middle only to reveal the true problem. Vidya Balan did some brilliant acting in the film. It is definitely worth a watch.

• The Three Faces Of Eve- It is based on the book of the same name (as mentioned above).

• Sybil- This movie is also based on the book and is a good option for someone who is not a book person.

• Anniyan (Aparachit) is a South Indian movie in which the lead actor suffers from DID. Subtitles or dubbed version of this movie are easily available.

• Primal Fear- This American crime thriller directed by Gregory Hoblit is an attention-grabbing watch with some great acting by Edward Norton.

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Parul Srivastava

She likes to express herself through her write-ups. She doesn’t believe in doing different things but she enjoy doing things differently.
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