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Treatment - Dissociative Identity Disorder

Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Table of Contents


Psychotherapy is the treatment of choice for individuals suffering from any type of dissociative disorder. Approaches vary widely, but generally take an individual modality (as opposed to family, group or couples therapy) and emphasize the integration of the various personality states into one, cohesive whole personality.

It should be noted that while it's convenient to talk of people who suffer from this disorder as having "multiple personalities," this is just a theoretical construct. People who suffer from this disorder believe they have multiple personalities which then take on a life of their own within the individual (perhaps reinforced by the belief). The new term for this disorder the last two DSM editions more accurately reflects the problem -- the individual suffers from dissociative identities. Their personality is the sum of these identities, which have been split off at some point in the past. The split is usually due to some individual or multiple traumatic events.


The use of medication, except for the treatment of acute, specific concurrent Axis I disorders, is not recommended. Maintenance and effective use of prescriptions given the multiple personality states is difficult to attain. If medication is prescribed, it should be carefully monitored.


In a growing trend, people with this disorder are starting to come together to form mutual self-help support groups within larger communities and virtually, through online communities. There is no overt reasons why a support group for this disorder would not be beneficial to individuals.

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