Split Personality disorder, also known as Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is a result of the creation of virtual personalities apart from the real one, in the mind of an individual. Various incidents can lead to this state of mind, but primarily, this occurs due to trauma, which leaves an indelible mark in the mind of the affected individual.
Many people often wonder if they suffer from MPD and want to know how to identify it. Given in the paragraphs below are some of the signs, symptoms and examples of MPD / DID which can be useful, not just those who suspect themselves, but to all those who would like to understand how and why they sometimes feel different.
Some symptoms exhibited by people suffering from split personality disorder –
These are some of the symptoms used in the diagnosis of MPD / DID
* Frequent memory loss and spans of inattentiveness
The person often displays a loss of memory and confusion. They may address people with wrong names even if they have known them for many years. They may also forget something instantly. They will seem to show disregard to vital information which will leave others fuming and perplexed. Later they may deny complete knowledge of anything important. The person will confidently say that he was not involved.
* Emotional swings
The person will swing between different types of emotions. He may be happy one instant and become very serious the next. His personality would seem to have undergone a complete change.
* Forgetting details about their lives
The person will seem to have completely forgotten what he or she did during certain periods in his life. If asked to recall his past, he will not be able to recollect significant periods in his life. He will not know what he did during those periods. To cover up his loss of memory he may sometimes inadvertently fill these gaps with stories and actually believe those to be true.
* Eating disorders
There will be periods when the person may fast thinking he is fat (anorexia nervosa) and at other times they may binge on food to gain weight (bulimia).
* Intellectual swings
The person shows extremes of intellectual abilities. At times the person will seem a genius and at other times he may appear a fool.
* Panicky and depressed periods
The person will go through periods of panic attacks and depression.
* Concocting lies and autobiographical details
The person will sometimes tell lies to hide his lack of knowledge of certain details or incidents, or he may be deliberately tell lies when under the grip of a different personality. At other moments he may tell extravagant tales as his autobiography. Many of these will be from memories which were manufactured rather then being related to an actual incident.
* Blind faith
The person may have a strong belief in something or some values and will argue with anyone with an opposite belief. He may thus display anger against opposite beliefs and faiths. He may be religious, ethnic, physical, ritualistic etc. His beliefs will seem misplaced but he will stick to it strongly.
* Meticulous grooming
The person sometimes takes care of his looks especially his face. He will seem to have the perfect look. Hairstyles, moustaches and beards will be maintained carefully. Likewise, women will take special care of their look. Some of them may even have a slight moustache which they will try to hide or clear away.
* Seductive behavior
The person may sometimes seem to flirt and be able to charm members of the opposite sex. This seductive behavior may be absent in the original personality and may be the result of, or a cover for an inferiority complex in the original personality.
Of all these there are 3 types of behavior that will be very noticeable and leave those around them perplexed. These are –
* Inconsistency in all matters
This is clearly evident by the person’s activities. He may make a decision and act according to it. Then suddenly, he may take a contradictory decision and adhere strongly to it. This will bewilder those around him. This will go on and he may come up with a completely different approach altogether within a short time. All such changes will be strongly justified even though he will only be able to offer feeble excuses in defense.
* Sudden change in personality and emotions
This is a clear indication of a change in personality as there will be variation in the emotional response and cognitive behavior of the person. The newer personality will have not any connection with the previous personality and will vehemently deny the knowledge about the other.
* Amnesia or gaps in long term memory
As explained earlier the person will insist that he does not have any knowledge of certain periods in his life. However when split personality occurs and the new one emerges, the memories may seem to suddenly flow in an unhindered manner.
There are some other noticeable symptoms that can be used to diagnose split personality. These are –
This will be evident from the actions of the person. He will exhibit a total disconnect from the real world around him. Forgetting simple things like the house, failing to recognize the spouse, acting in contrast to the real self, absentmindedly entering rooms and premises that the person is not supposed to enter, or showing complete ignorance of some things which is second nature to him and sometimes an absentminded belief.
* Behaving in a manner inconsistent with his age
For example an adult may suddenly start behaving like a child and even think like one or, a teenager will suddenly start behaving like a knowledgeable and adamant sixty year old.
* Wrong belief about the physical condition and abilities
The person may suddenly feel that he suffers from a debilitating disease which will be completely imaginary and in fact he may be completely healthy. Or using a part of his body for activities that he normally would do with another part of the body, for example exchanging tasks from his right hand to his left hand and vice versa.
This is the most common form of behavior displayed by the person suffering from split personality. He may imagine things, people, surrounding and even events that would be far from reality.
* Undergoing an out of body like experience
The person may tell details about incidents which he will describe as if watching from some place outside his actual physical body; as if he was floating around his own body.
* Sleeping disorders
The person will find it difficult to sleep and even complain of persistent nightmares that won’t go away. He may even sleep walk and later show complete ignorance about it.
* Suicidal tendencies
This is perhaps the last resort of a frustrated person to break free from his tyrannical state of mind. He is not able to understand his condition and tries to end it by taking his life. Many other conditions will result in the person showing this attitude; hence it must not be confused with diseases like depression and PTSD.
The symptoms mentioned above are used by analysts to determine if a person suffers from split personality. However it cannot be said for certain that if you exhibit any of these symptoms, you certainly qualify for split personality. That is best left to the doctors as it requires a careful series of tests and maybe multiple sessions to decide on the outcome. Any wrong diagnosis on your part will only confuse you and make your life more miserable than it already may be. Whatever the type of personality you have, it’s best to seek to refine it to become be a better person and to live your life happily.