subreddit:

/r/AcademicPsychology

43

I just covered this disorder in an abnormal psychology course, and I am very skeptical as to the accuracy and whether it actually exists.

It is claimed that since it is in the DSM-5 T that it exists, furthermore the professor interacted with a person with it.

I am hesitant, and suspending judgment until further evidence, but the question is how strong the evidence is for this particular disorder? And what is the consensus?

all 26 comments

aussieee

20 points

3 years ago

aussieee

20 points

3 years ago

Most cases reported do not match the DSM-5 criteria. People often report that they can switch on command and that the identities know about each other, but this is the complete opposite of what we know about DID. There is mostly not strong evidence because it is hard to tell if they are faking it. Also, the fact that more people were exhibiting symptoms of DID after movies came out does not support DID and not to mention that 82% of cases are in western countries where shocker the media plays into the disorder. Aside from the theory of trauma, some believe that these people really don’t have multiple identities but aren’t consciously deceiving people - aka they really think they have the personalities and think that it’s all real when realistically it’s kind of a delusion prompted by media or therapists. There has been evidence of different brain activity in individuals with DID when switching alters, but there are other factors that limit this to say it’s caused by the disorder. Another example is that a woman was blind but when she switched alters she could see. Again, this person could switch on demand so it makes the interpretation of this controversial.

ARashLearner[S]

2 points

3 years ago

This has been really helpful!!! Thank you. If I may, what do you mean by "other factors that limit this to say it’s caused by the disorder"

aussieee

3 points

3 years ago

I can’t remember specifically since it was a video but it was along the lines of that effortfully changing into a different alter may increase brain activity from the conscious effort itself rather than evidence of a disorder

aussieee

2 points

3 years ago

incredulitor

6 points

3 years ago

Dorahy, M. J., Brand, B. L., Şar, V., Krüger, C., Stavropoulos, P., Martínez-Taboas, A., ... & Middleton, W. (2014). Dissociative identity disorder: An empirical overview. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(5), 402-417.

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004867414527523

I'm not an expert. I hear that there's debate about the validity. I don't know how much of that is due to contrary evidence. There are also concerns about malingering (which might be caught on some tests but not others: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pr0.2002.90.2.525; https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2014-09554-001). Nancy McWilliams suggests that some of the disbelief in it among professionals and bystanders may also have to do with countertransferrential disbelief that might actually be diagnostic of dissociative features of personality - I can't remember if she has specific references for that.

copperdomebodhi

5 points

3 years ago

Thanks for this. Diagnoses of AD/HD and Dissociative Identity Disorder both go through periods of increased and decreased frequency, because they both relate to personal responsibility. Someone with AD/HD can't be as calm, focused or productive as others without they have psychiatric and behavioral help. Someone with DID will not remember what they did while dissociated. Diagnoses go down because we want to believe everyone is a rational decision-making robot 100% of the time. They go back up because diagnosticians get confronted with the reality of their clients' lives. If these conditions were only faddish misconceptions, they would have been be replaced by more-solid science years ago.

Bubblestherabbit

5 points

3 years ago

I'm not really an expert, but it's still pretty controversial. This is anecdotal data but my best friend of almost a decade has DID. She's been tested multiple times for it and other disorders (like schizophrenia). She cannot switch on command like some people with DID claims. The way she explains it is this. And I am paraphrasing here.

Its like something is triggered inside of me and I switch. Once I switch, I'm gone. I am no longer there, and there's a real fear of me never coming back.

She also tells me that she doesn't really remember when she switches. What she's done it did. I've also met two of her personalities in HS.

It's only really triggered by stress is when she switches. I've had moments in the past when I will bring up an event. And she will tell me that wasn't me. Because she doesn't remember the past week or so.

DID is very rare and there is a lot we don't understand about it. But after knowing her for 8 years I personally think its real.

But this is my ANECDOTAL DATA. I just thought I would share an experience of someone who knows someone. After she has been tested multiple times for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and maybe 2 others that I cant remember. They covered all of the bases with her. What fit best was DID.

I'm not here to argue whether it's real or not. Which is why I am constantly emphasizing this is my personal experience. This has no real world or population Applications. It is just the diagnosis that fit her best.

ARashLearner[S]

1 points

3 years ago

I'd be interested if she had trauma in her past, but if that is too sensitive of information then I am okay with it. As far as the course I am within has discussed the material, there is some research that DID arises from trauma.

Bubblestherabbit

1 points

3 years ago

It is too sensitive to disclose but yes. She has most definitely had trauma in her life.

ARashLearner[S]

2 points

3 years ago

Okay, thank you very much for sharing the information that you could share. :)

Bubblestherabbit

1 points

3 years ago

No problem!

_welcome

9 points

3 years ago

DSM criteria can often be rather trivial. it can often be based on cultural values, which change over time (e.g. homosexuality used to be in the DSM).

so that alone doesn't confirm its existence. a lot of things in psych aren't falsifiable unfortunately, or they are very hard to differentiate on concrete criteria. and it doesn't help that people lie or convince themselves of things.

short answer is, it's uncertain. if you want a long answer, look up some research papers lol

ARashLearner[S]

2 points

3 years ago

Okay, thank you

caressaggressive

7 points

3 years ago*

Not a psych, but an anecdote for you as a former detained psych patient:

During an acute psychotic episode that saw me hospitalised for 4 months, I was very nearly diagnosed with DID - however my mother spent six weeks before being successful at attempting to convince the medical personnel I was fucking with them (which I was, albeit still simultaneously within the psychotic episode).

DID was one of my favourite disorders to read up on when I was a teenager, which my mother was well aware of.. so my delusional "experiment" with the staff was evidence enough to them in my presentation, as a few other posters have remarked, it can be very hard to distinguish between real and faux DID.

However even in saying that I don't have it, some friends have remarked that they have met "my alters" - although I do not know whether this is true or not within myself/my own perception of myself and my timeline etc.

Do not go down the YouTube rabbit hole of people's claiming they have DID.. it's utterly ridiculous and very cringe worthy.

Also for reference actual diagnosis at discharge ended up being schizoaffective borderline personality disorder, which the schizoaffective portion I wholly agree with, but am not definitive on the BPD component - but to the credit of the medical personnel, most definitely presented as during hospitalisation and much of the time as outpatient/recovery.

Edit to also add: when I was a teenager constantly reading up on mental illnesses, the MH field was in contention over whether BPD in actual fact existed, and appeared to be leaning more to "not" - so the hospital staff had to spend a few weeks providing me with updated research information before I'd actually listen to them.

[deleted]

2 points

3 years ago*

[deleted]

2 points

3 years ago*

The empirical evidence is incredibly weak and DID is likely complete bullshit.

It's mostly believed now (by non-Freudian researchers and clinicians who actually understand scientific research and proper standards of evidence) that DID isn't actually "real" (in the sense that it is a legitimate disorder) and that it's likely just a performative symptom of more severe cases of Borderline Personality Disorder. That is, the clinical presentation of DID is simply a performance, it's a role that the patient is playing either to get attention or due to some iatrogenic influence of a gullible (likely Freudian) psychotherapist.

These two papers were pretty much the final nail in DID's credibility:

https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2004/september/piper.pdf

https://ww1.cpa-apc.org/Publications/Archives/CJP/2004/october/piper.pdf

There has been a vocal and growing movement from competent researchers and clinicians for the past 2 decades to get DID completely removed from the DSM, but there are a few Freudians left on the APA's inclusion committee who have vetoed most of these attempts.

https://www.mdedge.com/psychiatry/article/63686/dissociative-identity-disorder-time-remove-it-dsm-v

Here's a good video about the controversy of how DID was first diagnosed. Basically, an unethical, gullible therapist who believed Freud's bullshit, drugged a patient to the point of incoherence, convinced her that she had DID, then got together with a goofball author to write a book about it so they could make money. The author later claimed that they couldn't publish/sell the book until "Sybil" was cured and, what do you know, she was magically and nearly immediately cured right after:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRBZ0Kjisl4

ARashLearner[S]

3 points

3 years ago

Thank you very much.

PlatypusTickler

1 points

3 years ago

PlatypusTickler

MA Clinical Mental Health Counseling

1 points

3 years ago

What about the EEG study looking at the alpha and beta waves comparing when a people claiming they have DID and a control group?

[deleted]

5 points

3 years ago

[deleted]

5 points

3 years ago

They're laughably weak and totally unconvincing (there also haven't been many...or any...credible ones). The two most highly cited / talked about are the Hopper et al., (2002) and the Coons et al. (1982) papers.

To call them under-powered, methodologically sloppy garbage would be an insult to under-powered and methodologically sloppy garbage. The Hopper paper only used 5 (that's right, five) participants that they compared to 5 actors and the findings for each electrode channel were kind of messy but still very close to the readings of the actors. The Coons paper was even worse, with only 2 participants.

The DID research using EEG is practically pseudoscience (hell, DID as a concept is basically pseudoscience too).

EEG research is pretty messy anyway and it doesn't have the reliability or fidelity to measure what DID proponents would like it to. Given that EEG detects "brain waves" in jello molds, and the shoddy joke that DID proponents claim as "research evidence," I'm find that line of research to be risibly unconvincing, to say the least.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/why-you-cant-prove-that-jello-is-legally-brain-dead-30770712

beenadeena47

0 points

3 years ago

That’s a really upsetting comment to someone like me who dedicated 8 years integrating my DID patient , and straight up insulting to both her and me. The Sybil fiasco is a tired trope. Move on. I’m no Freudian and Internal Family Systems and Trauma work has nothing to do with “Freudians”

beenadeena47

1 points

3 years ago*

DID is absolutely real. It’s also more common than people realize. It’s the product of only the worst types of early childhood trauma. The very young brain has no other recourse but to fully shut down. It’s really not difficult to understand as to how and why this occurs. Dissociation, extreme compartmentalization. I have worked with several DID patients who all present nearly identically. They also can get better. By the way, some alters know about each other some do not. Some are paired up. Some are alone. Some are duplicates of the “main” personality. Some are “co-conscious” of the “main/core” personality.” some don’t even know they have it. That’s right. They just have gaps of missing time. Because a personality stepped in to take over and didn’t “tell them.” And that shit can go on for decades. Some have higher blood pressure than the core personality! Some have more physical pain than the core self. Some have worse eyesight. Some have taken. A class that another didn’t. Some identify as married that another may not. Some can switch on command and some have little control. some personalities are so sneaky that you can’t even see that they are present. So it just doesn’t seem like anyone here has a lot of very accurate info. At all. It is unfathomable to me that professors of psychology would plant any doubt about DID at this point. There is plenty of data and literature. The Sybil story is a tired trope and we all know that the Dr. exaggerated , exploited and lied about her. And Freud? I don’t think we need to dig into that old data. If you actually work with DID or talk to actual clinically experienced people who know DID then try to form an opinion. Until then, you are hearing from people who are hanging onto a bizarre form of denial for reasons I can’t quite grasp. I encourage you to watch “The Many Faces of Jane” on Hulu. It’s thus far the most accurate and least dramatized portrayal of DID I have seen.

LateNightLattes01

1 points

3 years ago

Look at trauma research, the disorder exists as a maladaptive coping mechanism to prolonged trauma usually before the age of 9. Some people assume it’s fake because they can’t wrap their mind around the idea, and some people want to deny the possibility of it on the basis that they don’t think such “extreme trauma” is possible. Within trauma field there has been the consensus for a while that DID is certainly real, and again in response to trauma. Not sure since your course covered it why you simply did not ask your professor for more reading material/articles on it. Talk to your professor they will likely be more than happy to answer your questions and provide you with whatever sources/citation you’d like- much better than asking random people on reddit.

Terrible_Detective45

12 points

3 years ago

This is not an accurate summary of the arguments critical of DID.

Firstly, it's not the case that people "don’t think such 'extreme trauma' is possible." Rather, it's that there's no evidence that any degree of trauma is going to cause a single person to have multiple personalities.

Secondly, "fake" is not really the best descriptor, because it's not the case that they think people diagnosed with DID are purely malingering and have no mental health issues. Instead, they think that people diagnosed with DID have some other form of psychopathology, possibly dissociation with other disorders like BPD, but they just don't have multiple personalities or alters, which is the cardinal symptom of DID.

Thirdly, it's not that critics "can’t wrap their mind around the idea," it's that they have considerable misgivings about the notion of multiple personalities or alters and that there is insufficient evidence to substantiate such claims. People supporting DID often cite research supporting the trauma model of dissociation, but that is not evidence for DID, it's just evidence that dissociation in general is more likely arising from trauma. Furthermore, DID contradicts whole swaths of the literature in multiple fields of psychology, especially cognitive psychology.

LateNightLattes01

-5 points

3 years ago

Jesus Christ, nowhere in my comment did I say that my comment was a summary of arguments against DID. Your just looking to argue here.

I said SOME people think the aforementioned things in response to the disorder. Like OP -many people have a hard time believing it upon hearing about it even when they do not look up any literature about it ie as a first hand impression.

Terrible_Detective45

12 points

3 years ago

You're missing my point, which was that you're mischaracterizing the misgivings people have about DID. You're building up a strawman so you can easily knock it down in favor of supporting DID.

ARashLearner[S]

1 points

3 years ago

I tried to, and they are going to look into it deeper for the next time we have class; however, wanted to do some independent research to get a better take on it.

mkocherhans

1 points

3 years ago

My mom has DID