Getting to Know Dissociative Identity Disorder

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What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a severe mental condition in which multiple distinct identities are present in a person. These identities recurrently take control of an individual. It can also be described as a severe form of dissociation. Dissociation is a mental process where a person’s feelings, thoughts, memories, actions or sense of identity lack connection with one another.

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What are its causes?

Professionals have yet to determine the specific cause of this mental disorder. However, there are factors which might have played a huge role in the development of this disorder. Some of the common reported experiences of patients with this disorder are severe physical and sexual abuse and various traumatic situations during their childhood.

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The Symptoms

A person who’s developed Dissociative Identity Disorder might show several of the symptoms below:

  1. Eating disorders
  2. Mood Swings
  3. Depression
  4. Alcohol and drug abuse
  5. Anxiety
  6. Panic attacks
  7. Phobias
  8. Insomnia
  9. Night terrors
  10. Sleep walking
  11. Short-term memory loss
  12. Aggressive Behavior
  13. Visual or auditory hallucinations
  14. Inability to focus

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How to Get Treated

The most recommended treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder is a combination of long-term psychotherapy and medication. In Psychotherapy, a professional will talk with the patient and help him understand his disorder. Eventually, these talks will help him recover from the disorder. The medication for this disorder will most probably consist of antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs and tranquilizers.

Childhood Trauma: What it’s Really Like

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What is Childhood Trauma?

Childhood trauma occurs when a child undergoes a traumatic experience which can have a huge impact on his current and future behavior. The most common causes of childhood trauma are threatening or dangerous situations, the loss of a loved one and even painful, unbearable medical procedures. In some cases, humiliating experiences can also trigger childhood trauma.

Most of the time, adults assume that because of a child’s innocence and young age, he will be protected from horrible experiences. They believe that children are clueless when it comes to dangerous events. But that’s actually the opposite of the truth. Even at a tender age, children feel when something is wrong – though they may not fully understand what’s happening.

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What are the effects?

Without proper care and treatment, childhood trauma can scar a person for life. Here are some of its serious effects:

  1. Develop numerous psychological, mental or physical illnesses.

Those are Bipolar disorder, Personality disorder, Eating disorder, Schizophrenia, Dissociative Identity Disorder, Depression and Panic attacks.

  1. Attachment and Relationships.

Children with a terrible experience in the past will find it hard to trust and love people – even communicating with them would be difficult.

  1. Dissociation

It is very common for a traumatized child to try and erase that memory from his head. They will mentally remove themselves from the situation which results to their “spacing out” during everyday activities.

  1. Emotional Responses

Children with childhood trauma will most probably have trouble expressing themselves and managing their emotions.

  1. Cognition

A person who suffers childhood trauma will most likely have trouble solving problems, thinking clearly, reasoning and understanding.

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What are its symptoms?

If someone you know has several of the following symptoms, seek the help of a professional immediately.

-Exhibit memory problems

-Poor sleeping habits

-Experience nightmares

-Major changes in eating and appetite

-Exhibit regressive or aggressive behavior

-Strong startle reactions

-Often anxious, irritable or sad

-Poor memory and verbal skills

-Fear adults who remind them of the traumatic event

-Low self-esteem

-Frequent headaches and stomachaches

-Avoidant and fearful most of the time

-Has trouble making friends

-Scream and cry a lot

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Coping with Childhood Trauma as an Adult

Here are some ways that will help an adult recover from childhood trauma:

  1. Value your health. It’s a scientifically proven that a healthy human being is much more equipped when it comes to handling stress.
  2. Get rid of bad habits. Or better yet, create new and good ones.
  3. Acceptance is the key. Acceptance means that you’re ready to let it go. You are no longer allowing the past to ruin your present life.
  4. Start acknowledging the cause of trauma. Sometimes, a person pretends for years that his traumatic experience never happened. When in fact, the effective way to heal is by recognizing the cause of your trauma. You must also start believing that you were not responsible for it.
  5. Reach out to people. It’s time to stop isolating yourself. Seek emotional support from the people around you.

Dealing with Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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What is Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the condition when a person obsesses about a flaw in his physical appearance. Usually, this flaw is just imagined or it might be present but not really prominent or alarming. This preoccupation might affect a person’s everyday activities. It may cause significant distress in a person’s social and occupational aspect. The most common perceived defects are face (nose, pimples, complexion, and wrinkles), hair (thinning and baldness), breast size, genitalia, tone and size of muscles, flaws of the skin and the appearance of veins.

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What are the causes?

                The exact cause of Body Dysmorphic Disorder is still unknown. According to previous research, neurotransmitters play a major role in the development of the disorder. Although there’s no evidence yet of the specific cause of this disorder, there are a number of factors which increase the chances of a person to develop the disorder. Some of the things that trigger Body Dysmorphic Disorder are childhood teasing, any form of abuse, genetics, generally low self-esteem and even society’s definition of beauty.

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What are its symptoms?

If someone you know starts exhibiting the following symptoms, it is best to consult a professional right away:

  1. Extreme self-consciousness
  2. Looks in the mirror all the time
  3. Avoids all mirrors
  4. Avoids social situations
  5. Excessive grooming
  6. Puts too much makeup on or wears excessive clothing
  7. Thinks he has a physical defect that makes him ugly
  8. Refuses to appear in photos
  9. Feeling the need to stay in his home all the time
  10. Thinks that other people will see his perceived flaw
  11. Compares his appearance to that of others

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What are the effects?

  1. Overdo cosmetic procedures
  2. Unnecessary shame and embarrassment
  3. Social isolation
  4. High risk for developing major depression

How can it be treated?

Usually, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is treated with the combination of psychotherapy, family/group therapy and medication.

  1. Psychotherapy – This is one type of one-on-one counselling. Its goal is to change a person’s thinking (cognitive therapy) and behavior (behavioral therapy). This therapy aims to correct the patient’s false belief about the perceived defect.
  2. Medication – Antidepressants such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRI will be prescribed. It decreases the patient’s obsessive and compulsive behavior.
  3. Family/Group therapy – The emotional support of a patient’s family is very crucial to the success of the treatment. It’s important for them to understand the symptoms and effects of the disorder.