Dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder, is a complex and multi-layered mental illness. The disorder is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personalities or identities that take over a person’s behavior. DIP is caused by extreme, continuous trauma in childhood, including physical, emotional or sexual abuse. The person suffering from the disorder is able to disconnect from thoughts, memories, feelings, and actions as a way to cope with the trauma he or she experienced. Besides the appearance of other personalities, DIP can also cause:
A person with dissociative personality disorder often feels like he is a passenger in his own body rather than the driver. This feeling can lead to behavioral choices that may not be consistent with his normal personality. Risk-taking behaviors like drug abuse may only be part of one of the personalities a person with DIP has, but when that personality is in control, drugs can be a big problem. That is why drug addiction is often a side effect of this type of mental illness. Drug abuse can be seen as a way of escape or a way to cope with the feelings of being out of control or past trauma. Dissociative identity disorder can lead to thoughts of suicide, which makes drug abuse even more dangerous in those with this illness.
There are treatment programs available for co-occurring disorders like DIP and drug addiction. The most important step in the process is an appropriate diagnosis. Dissociative identity disorder is often confused with schizophrenia, so getting the right diagnosis is crucial to the treatment process. Through psychotherapy, medication and hypnosis, the person suffering from DIP and drug addiction can be treated successfully. The most important thing to remember is that treatment for these co-occurring disorders is a long-term process and takes a life-time commitment.
Dissociative identity disorder is a complex mental illness that is often accompanied by drug addiction. With the right treatment and a strong commitment to recovery, people with DIP can lead a normal life. If you suspect your loved one has DIP and also struggles with drug abuse, we are here to help you. Our helpline counselors are ready to answer your questions about mental illness, addiction, and available treatment options. Call our toll-free number 24 hours a day.