Previously known as multiple personality disorder, dissociative identity disorder is a mental illness that often occurs due to exposure to extreme trauma during childhood.
According to WebMD, dissociation—“a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity”— is believed to be a mechanism to help the individual cope with the trauma they experienced. Dissociation can present itself in many different ways, however, and is often accompanied by other symptoms. The following are six signs of dissociative identity disorder to be mindful of.
The primary symptom of dissociative identity disorder is the presence of two or more distinct personalities—their “core” personality along with alternate personalities referred to as “alters.”
As each “alter” is very different, the Mayo Clinic says they may have “a unique name, personal history and characteristics, including obvious differences in voice, gender, mannerisms and even such physical qualities as the need for eyeglasses.” Sometimes the personalities may be aware of one another, but this is not the case for everyone.