What Does Treatment Look Like for People with Multiple Personality Disorder?

What Does Treatment Look Like for People with Multiple Personality Disorder?

Treatment is not going to look the same from one person to the next. They are individuals with specific needs for their own issues and circumstances which need tending. Treatment is not going to cure a person from all that ails them. It is merely a space to process life’s experiences and find hope and healing in community with others, including trained professionals, who can help walk with them through the journey. For people who struggle with mental health issues, including Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), it is a detrimental effect of trauma and a complex range of things which need additional support, especially when addiction enters the picture.

Defining MPD

Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is the name for what is now considered ‘Dissociative Identity Disorder,or DID. At least two or more personalities must be present for this diagnosis and the person typically hears voices. The person may exhibit different voices, speak differently, use mannerisms that vary across the personalities, and even have different names. The shifts are not always recognized, so when it happens, the person ‘dissociates’ or feels disembodied from the experience and likely will not remember what is said or done when the shift takes place.

Why it Happens

Childhood trauma is typically the reason for DID taking hold of a person’s life. Early on, there may be a mix of physical abuse, sexual trauma, or emotional neglect that jumble up to harm a person. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can trigger this mental illness, also. Increased risk of feelings of worthlessness, self harm, and substance abuse occur to cope with the negative feelings associated with having DID.

Identifying and Treating MPD

Few studies have looked at how and why DID is linked to substance abuse. Co-occurring mental illness and substance use is more common than people realize. Not only for those suffering from DID, but anyone struggling with co-occurring disorders including anxiety, depression, or serious mental health conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar illness. All are difficult to treat on their own but, in combination with substance abuse, require a holistic approach to treating the whole person, not just one part of their experiences in life that led them to where they are in the present moment. Treatment options for people with DID and addiction typically can find effective support in the following ways:

  • Therapy
  • Detox programs
  • Support groups
  • Medication
  • Inpatient rehab

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with trained specialists in DID can be supportive, along with treatment for addiction. Inpatient rehab can work well for people suffering from DID and addiction to provide supervised care in a safe environment. Anywhere a person can find help supporting both the DID diagnosis and subsequent addiction issues is going to be a place of safety to cope with the challenges and get the person on the path to healing and recovery.


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