The Relationship Between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Suicide

Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more, distinct or split, identities or personalities that have power over the person’s behavior. People with dissociative identity disorder can have an inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained as forgetfulness. There is also highly distinct memory variations, which differ for each split personality. The “alters” or different identities have their own age, gender, and well personality. Each has their own postures, gestures, and distinct way of talking.

Sometimes the alters are imaginary people, sometimes they are animals. As each personality reveals itself and controls the individual, it’s called “switching.” Switching can take seconds, minutes, or even days.Environmental triggers or life events are what cause a sudden shift from one alter or personality to another.

These separate states are not fully mature personalities, they represent a disjointed or confused sense of identity. With the amnesia that is typically associated with this disorder, different identity states remember different aspects of autobiographical information.

There is usually a “host” personality within the individual, who identifies with the person’s real name, but the host personality is usually unaware of the other personalities. What Roles Do the Different Personalities Play?

The distinct personalities may serve different roles in helping the individual cope with life’s difficulties. For instance, there’s an average of two to four personalities present when the patient is initially diagnosed. Then there’s an average of 13 to 15 personalities that can become known over the course of treatment.

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While unusual, there have been instances of dissociative identity disorder with more than 100 personalities. What’s the Difference Between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia? Schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder are often confused, but they are very different.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness involving chronic psychosis, people with this hear or see things that aren’t real, also known as having hallucinations. They also think or believe things with no basis in reality, these are called delusions. Delusions are the most common psychotic symptom in schizophrenia; hallucinations, particularly hearing voices, are apparent in about half to three quarters of people with the illness. A common misconception is that people with schizophrenia have multiple personalities, THEY DO NOT. Sadly, Suicide is a risk with both schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder. And It is proven that patients with multiple personalities have a history of suicide attempts more often than other psychiatric patients.


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The Relationship Between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Suicide. (2021, Dec 27). Retrieved from

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