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FAQ: Multiple Personality Disorder Print E-mail
Written by Phillip LaVeque   
Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Multiple personality disorder is a condition in which two or more distinct identities or personalities alternately take control in the same person. Each personality is unaware of any others.

What is going on in the body?

The symptoms of multiple personality disorder can be sudden, gradual, fleeting, or chronic. Each personality has full range of mental functions. Certain identities may emerge in certain circumstances. The personalities often have different names and characteristics. The personalities may be quite different from the primary one.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The cause of multiple personality disorder is thought to be psychological trauma, such as chronic physical abuse or sexual abuse, in childhood. The disorder is more common in females than males.

What are the treatments for the condition?
Treatment of a multiple personality diorder usually involves long-term therapy or counseling. Individual psychotherapy is most often the treatment of choice. Therapy focuses on helping the person to:
- learn how to organize the day to avoid long periods of unstructured activity
- understand the illness
- learn how to manage the symptoms
- increase social skills
- improve communication skills

Antidepressant medications may be used to control moods or symptoms.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Side effects depend on the medications used, but may include drowsiness or allergic reactions.

What happens after treatment for the condition?
The rate of relapse for a person with multiple personality disorder is fairly high. It is more likely when the person is under stress, or when an incident triggers childhood memories.

How is the condition monitored?
Multiple personality disorder is monitored by the person and the family. If the episodes become more frequent or more intense, the healthcare provider should be consulted.


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