According to research reported by StatPearls Publishing, “Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a rare psychiatric disorder diagnosed in about 1.5% of the global population.” The disorder, previously referred to as multiple personality disorder (MPD), is characterized by multiple distinct personalities manifesting within one person. DID is usually a result of significant trauma or stress and can manifest in various ways. For many individuals, an accurate diagnosis can take multiple assessments. Untreated DID can significantly affect recovery from substance use disorder (SUD).
How Dissociative Identity Disorder Affects Day-to-Day Life
All mental health disorders have the potential to disrupt personal, professional, and recovery goals. According to Cureus, “Dissociative identity disorder (DID), or dissociative personality disorder, is the presence of at least two varied personalities in one person.” The effects this can have on day-to-day life include:
- Difficulty maintaining focus and attention at work or school
- Relationships issues
- Extreme and irregular mood swings
- Impulsive, risk-taking, or self-harming behaviors
- Persistent dissociation or feeling of disconnectedness and depersonalization
- Anxiety and depressive symptoms
- Amnesia, blackouts, or time loss
- Headaches and other physical symptoms of stress
- Altered consciousness
The primary characteristic of DID is the emergence of one or more distinct personalities that generally have unique memories, names, and temperaments. The unusual behavioral changes that manifest when personalities emerge can adversely impact social connections and close relationships. Treatment for DID generally involves using multiple modalities to achieve the desired outcome.
The End Goals of DID Treatment
Therapy sessions for DID are conducted simultaneously alongside group therapy and other traditional forms of rehabilitation treatment. However, therapy for DID often takes far longer to fully resolve any underlying issues. The ultimate end goals for DID treatment centers include:
- Final fusion: Reaching a point where the individual identifies as only one personality
- Functional multiplicity: Increased quality of life while maintaining alternative personalities
The Phoenix Recovery Center personalizes treatment plans through a collaborative process between clinicians and clients. No matter where you are in your recovery journey, we can help stabilize your mental health to ensure more successful rehabilitation. Our treatments allow you to achieve and maintain sobriety regardless of whether you achieve final fusion or functional multiplicity. The most common forms of treatment for DID include individual psychotherapy and simultaneous alternative therapies.
Understanding Functional Multiplicity
Functional multiplicity looks different for everyone but results in a happier, healthier individual. Failure to completely integrate all personalities does not always mean that the disorder is still damaging. Some individuals reach a point where all personalities have access to shared memories, set boundaries, and have common goals, making it easier to stabilize emotions and maintain healthy behavioral patterns. Individuals with functional multiplicity still experience the following:
- At least two distinct personalities with accompanying unique behaviors
- Personalities adapt to unite toward a common goal
- All personalities prioritize recovery and treatment
Interacting with other individuals with DID can encourage and motivate you to work through the difficult moments in treatment and ultimately achieve functional multiplicity or final fusion. According to Frontiers in Psychiatry, “Socializing appears to be a way of coping, which results in a relatively better level of functionality.” During treatment in facilities like The Phoenix Recovery Center, individuals can meet and interact with others who share similar experiences. Peer support is an excellent tool for recovery from substance use and mental health disorders.
Achieving Final Fusion
Final fusion is a best-case scenario for many people with DID. However, it often takes quite a long time to achieve. Although you may start therapy during inpatient or intensive outpatient care, most people with DID continue to attend individual sessions for months or years after completing the rehabilitation. How long it takes to reach a point where all personalities have fused into one will depend on multiple factors. The benefits of final fusion include:
- Emotion and mood stabilization
- Improved quality of personal and professional relationships
- Decreased risk of physical harm
- Lowered stress levels and increased emotional stability
Self-harming behaviors are not uncommon among individuals with DID, and reaching final fusion significantly lowers the risk of accidental injury or death related to self-injury. The ability to cope with stressors and past traumas in a healthy way also builds self-confidence and self-efficacy, resulting in better outcomes for individuals in treatment for SUD.
Achieving long-term goals for DID treatment requires healthy coping skills to navigate everyday stressors and manage symptoms related to SUD and dissociative events. Psychotherapy is the most common form of treatment for DID. Therapists can provide several critical tools, including:
- Stress reduction exercises
- Regular self-care
- Building a solid support system
- Creating a safety plan for emergencies and moments of crisis
- Improving communication skills
The Phoenix Recovery Center tailors treatments to ensure the best possible outcome for individuals struggling with severe co-occurring disorders.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) impacts all areas of life and can decrease the effectiveness of some treatments for substance use disorder. The Phoenix Recovery Center addresses DID and the side effects of the condition by using various therapeutic methods. At The Phoenix, we believe that the client should control how to proceed with treatment and our care plans center around collaboration between clients and clinicians. For individuals with DID, this relationship can be more complicated to navigate. However, our expert clinicians at The Phoenix have the necessary experience to ensure clients receive the best possible care. For most individuals, successful treatment of DID results in either final fusion and the reintegration of all personalities or functional multiplicity with multiple personalities working toward common recovery and personal goals. The Phoenix Recovery Center is among the top mental health facilities in Utah and is dedicated to helping individuals receive the care they need to improve their quality of life. To learn more about how we can help you, reach out to us today by calling (801) 438-3185.