Multiple Personality Disorder (M.P.D.) is also named Dissociative Identity Disorder (D.I.D.) which is a very controversial diagnosis. Many people who think of this disorder bring to mind ‘Sybil,’ who had multiple personalities. Hollywood stereotypes present a person with M.P.D. or D.I.D. as being crazy or out of control which is not usually the case. Addiction can create challenges for an individual with this disorder due to the nature of substance and drug abuse which can alter a person’s physical and emotional wellbeing.
Official diagnostic criteria for the disorder is, according to the DSM IV-TR, the ‘presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states, at least two of these identities recurrently take control of the person’s behavior, and the inability to recall important personal information.’ A person with this condition may have frequent gaps in memory both past and present and report finding items of clothing at home which the individual does not remember having. Whole segments of time or a part of the day may disappear from memory including where a person was or what happened. Misplaced keys, wallets and purses are common.
Generally a person with multiple personalities who uses alcohol or drugs will often only have one personality who uses. The host personality may be aware he or she drinks but does not recall getting high on marijuana, for example. Discussion of the addictive behavior quite often refers back to a personality years prior who chose the addictive path to distract the host personality from some form of mental, physical or sexual abuse. With alcohol, gambling, drugs, sex or addiction some people will do anything to feel normal, not feel pain or shame and to settle the feelings going on inside. A person may choose to medicate in an effort to distract, avoid or deny what is happening in real life.
Overcoming addiction is a challenge which proves even more so when one personality of many is using alcohol or drugs. The addicted personality must become integrated into the host so the host does not use the alternate personality to escape real or perceived danger with drugs or alcohol. One of the dangers is in letting the addiction continue untreated without also treating the personality disorder which requires forethought in locating treatment professionals who specialize in both.
It is possible to get help and support for individuals with M.P.D. or D.I.D. with addictive behaviors. The treatment goals need to be discussed in a continuum of care with therapists and doctors involved who are able to design a comprehensive protocol which supports integration of the personality with addiction, causes of underlying issues with the addiction and personality disorder in addition to whatever else may arise. The important thing to remember is that there is hope and recovery on the horizon.
Contact Hired Power if you or a loved one have addictive behaviors or patterns holding you back from living a fulfilling life. Call us at 800-910-9299 to find out more on our resources and services.
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