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Legitimate Psychological Disorder

Legitimate Psychological Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity personality disorder (DID), also referred to as multiple personality disorder, is a mental disorder where a person can maintain at least two relative or distinct personality states. People with DID present with two or more identities, which makes it hard to understand them. There have been debates about whether the disorder is legitimate or not, with some people claiming that it is hard for a person to present with more than two identities (Dimitrova et al., 2021). Most psychiatric conditions are triggered by life situations and persist for too long to meet the diagnostic criteria. Therefore, I believe that dissociative identity personality disorder is a legitimate psychological disorder based on existing evidence.

There is enough scientific evidence that all mental conditions have causes and triggers. Certain factors, which are genetic or environmental, lead to the development of certain mental disorders. DID is caused by triggers such as trauma and abuse during early childhood. The child may try to behave in a certain way or adopt a certain identity to avoid abuse or to deal with the situation that persists later in life where multiple identities are adopted. Traumatic events cause certain gaps in children’s brains, leading to splintering or fragmentation of their identities as they struggle to forget the events or deal with the events (Şar, Mutluer, Necef, & Fatih, 2018). Therefore, the children develop new identities, which lead to DID. As seen in the video, Kim has several personality disorders that the psychologist suspects might be due to childhood traumas. Multiple traumas expose children to different conditions, which make them able to assume the identities of the conditions (Şar, Mutluer, Necef, & Fatih, 2018). Amnesia is also common in people with DID since they forget the state in which they should present themselves, leading to multiple identities (Dimitrova et al., 2021). Early childhood experiences such as sexual abuse and trauma interfere with the brain’s normal functioning, which affects the way a person behaves and interacts, leading to multiple identities and characters. Modern technologies such as MRI have shown defects in the brains of people with DID, where some areas that are not active are activated in the brain, making a person present with multiple identities (Dimitrova et al., 2021). Thus, I believe that dissociative identity personality disorder is a legitimate psychological disorder.


Dimitrova, L. I., Dean, S. L., Schlumpf, Y. R., Vissia, E. M., Nijenhuis, E. R., Chatzi, V., … & Reinders, A. A. (2021). A neurostructural biomarker of dissociative amnesia: a hippocampal study in dissociative identity disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-9.

Şar, V., Mutluer, T., Necef, I., & Fatih, P. (2018). Trauma, creativity, and trance: Special ability in a case of dissociative identity disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry175(6), 506-507.


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Legitimate Psychological Disorder

As related in your reading and the lecture notes the legitimacy of Dissociative Identity Disorder has been the subject of controversy. Below is the link to a video that highlights a woman who can switch personalities on command. After watching the video post your response to the following question on the discussion board.

  • Do you believe that this is a legitimate psychological disorder? Why or why not?

    Legitimate Psychological Disorder

    Legitimate Psychological Disorder

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