Dissociative identity disorder (DID) shows itself in people through having two or more distinct personalities. These personalities exist concurrently and are known as alters. Alters often exist as a result of an attempt to cope with unresolved personal issues.
Media and Society
One of the problems faced by people with dissociative identity disorder is that popular culture portrays them in a very specific way. They are seen as abnormal with a “disease” that makes them a danger to themselves and others. The media confabulates facts and situations that have an effect on how people are seen and how they see each other. Part of this issue is that families see these portrayals and become needlessly frightened about what they can mean.
Dissociative Identity Disorder in Children
People with children who exhibit signs of DID may think they are simply depressed or anxious or looking for attention. They may even see the concept of alters as being fake. Family members may not even realize that there has been trauma or where it came from.
Often, when they do find out, there is immense guilt. That is why there are resources not just for individuals, but for families who wish to learn more for the sake of their loved ones.
Resources for Families Dealing With Dissociative Identity Disorder
The best thing for families of those with DID to know is that continued research has led to further information and insight into this singular disorder. With that in mind, it is essential for families to remember that this is not a curable issue. Knowing this is important to the healing process. DID is something individuals and families learn to deal with and accept that it will always be part of their lives.
For families, one of the first things to do following a diagnosis is to find a family therapist that you can trust and who is non-judgmental. This person should approach your family as blank-slate as possible. People can start from square one and ask even the most basic questions without feeling bad or awkward.
What to Look For in a Family Therapist
A family therapist with proper training in DID will be able to take in your family situation by listening and facilitating the conversation between family members. This is very important because any tight-knit group coming to terms with DID will have its own unique experience. Their underlying need to help each other through hard times will be tested by the disorder.
Your therapist needs to understand not just DID but each member of your family unit. With so many ways for DID to present itself, the fact is that people’s reactions will vary widely. Openness and the ability to read your family may be the most important part of choosing a reputable therapist.
The Role of Family Therapy in DID
While there will be many questions, family therapy is about confronting the truths about specific conditions. Therapy will initially present the basic seeds for families to grow and learn together. Following a diagnosis, therapy can be an anchor.
Therapists will also be available to discuss real-world scenarios. This can include how to approach school, work, and social situations. Though immediate family members can come to terms with the diagnosis, others may not be as forthcoming with support and understanding. Family therapy will present techniques for dealing with these non-family situations by showing how to create a united front and learn to back their loved ones.
Another way for families to find assistance is for the individual to begin cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to allow them to deal with anxiety and depression. This can change the entire landscape of how the family feels. When someone feels better about themselves and their situation, this can have a lasting effect on those around them.
Often, medication-assisted therapy (MAT) may help solve a small but important piece of the puzzle. It can work in tandem with CBT to help calm some of the deeper side effects of this disorder. In a variety of families, this will give them more room to work on the larger issues of DID.
Seek Help at the Phoenix Recovery Center
For families who do not understand DID or are having issues dealing with it, the Phoenix Recovery Center is prepared to help. Our family therapy program is state-of-the-art, with a knowledgeable staff eager to provide care for your loved ones.
It is important to us that we treat not just the individual, but help them realize their impact on those around them. On the flip side, families also need to understand their impact on their loved ones. The Phoenix Recovery Center will bring each of these pieces together and show families that they can weather this storm. For more information, contact The Phoenix Recovery Center at (801) 438-3185.