Today is ‘National Multiple Personality Day’. We spoke to a clinical psychologist about how to identify the disorder and how to better cope with it.
The condition is defined as “a complex psychological condition that causes a split in personalities and switching of personalities” according to clinical psychologist Medicane Moshanyana of Carstenhoff Clinic in Midrand.
The prevalence of the condition is “rising drastically” because of factors like life pressures, harsh home conditions, abusive families, repetitive physical and sexual abuse of children, brutal family killings and drug abuse says Moshanyana.
Moshanyana says adults who suffer from the condition likely had a severe traumatic childhood.
“This may be due to extreme and repetitive emotional, mental, sexual, physical, conditional and verbal abuse” that suffered as a child, she adds.
Although Multiple Personality Disorder is not a condition one is born with, it is hereditary due to environmental influence or stimulation.
Moshanyana says a person who suffers from MPD will have the following symptoms: “two or more different personalities, while unaware or unable to recall the previous dominating personality. It affects the memory, emotional fluctuations, age, sex, race, postures, and gestures in a distinctive way. He or she will switch from one person to the other or an animal/object of choice unconsciously. While there isn’t really a cure for the condition, psychotherapy with psychiatric medication has been found to be effective in minimising its impact on the person with MPD,” she adds.
Family support is also crucial to help those suffering from the condition.
“Give the affected individual support and be available for them. Be calm and relaxed when dealing with them because any anxiety will raise more anxiety in the person affected,” she says.
Below are practical things that Moshanyana advises can be done to help those suffering from the condition.
– Give the affected individual support and be available for them. Go out and have fun with them.
– Do not be harsh towards them but be honest with them.
– Allow them to be and give them direction when they want it.
– Take them for therapy and monitor their medication intake, be involved in therapy too.
– Get feedback from them. Be willing sit down and talk and ask about real issues.