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Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, is a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states. There is often trouble remembering certain events, beyond what would be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. These states alternately show in a person’s behavior; presentations, however, are variable. Associated conditions often include borderline personality disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, depression, substance misuse disorder, self-harm, or anxiety.Some professionals believe the cause to be childhood trauma. In about 90% of cases, there is a history of abuse in childhood, while other cases are linked to experiences of war or health problems during childhood. Genetic factors are also believed to play a role. An alternative hypothesis is that it is a by-product of techniques employed by some therapists, especially those using hypnosis. Before a diagnosis is made, it should be verified that the person’s condition is not better accounted for by substance abuse, seizures, imaginative play in children, or religious practices.Treatment generally involves supportive care and counselling. The condition usually persists without treatment. It is believed to affect about 2% of the general population and 3% of those admitted to hospitals with mental health problems in Europe and North America. DID is diagnosed about six times more often in females than males. The number of cases increased significantly in the latter half of the 20th century, along with the number of identities claimed by those affected.DID is controversial both within psychiatry and the legal system. In court cases, it has been used as a rarely successful form of the insanity defense. It is unclear if increased rates of the disorder are due to better recognition or sociocultural factors such as media portrayals. A large proportion of diagnoses are clustered around a small number of clinicians, which is consistent with the hypothesis that DID may be therapist-induced. The typical presenting symptoms in different regions of the world may also vary depending on how the disorder is depicted by the media.
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