Evidence that Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is caused by Childhood Trauma

November 7, 2014 Comments Off on Evidence that Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is caused by Childhood Trauma

Conclusive evidence that Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is caused by extensive childhood trauma and not iatrogenically (resulting from the activity of physicians) or socially. Individual identities have been shown to have clear physiological differences. These are only a few of the many studies available in professional journals and research books.

Child Abuse Wiki – Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative identity disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) is defined in the DSM-IV-TR as the presence of two or more personality states or distinct identities that repeatedly take control of one’s behavior. The patient has an inability to recall personal information. The extent of this lack of recall is too great to be explained by normal forgetfulness. The disorder cannot be due to the direct physical effects of a general medical condition or substance.

DID entails a failure to integrate certain aspects of memory, consciousness and identity. Patients experience frequent gaps in their memory for their personal history, past and present. Patients with DID report having severe physical and sexual abuse, especially during childhood. The reports of patients with DID are often validated by objective evidence.


The causes of dissociative identity disorder are theoretically linked with the interaction of overwhelming stress, traumatic antecedents, insufficient childhood nurturing, and an innate ability to dissociate memories or experiences from consciousness. Prolonged child abuse is frequently a factor, with a very high percentage of patients reporting documented abuse often confirmed by objective evidence. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that patients with DID often report having a history of severe physical and sexual abuse. The reports of patients suffering from DID are “often confirmed by objective evidence,” and the DSM notes that the abusers in those situations may be inclined to “deny or distort” these acts. Research has consistently shown that DID is characterized by reports of extensive childhood trauma, usually child abuse. Dissociation is recognized as a symptomatic presentation in response to psychological trauma, extreme emotional stress, and in association with emotional dysregulation and borderline personality disorder. A study of 12 murderers established the connection between early severe abuse and DID. A recent psychobiological study shows that dissociative identity disorder (DID) sufferers’ “origins of their ailment stem more likely from trauma” than sociogenic or iatrogenic origins.

There is strong evidence that DID is not a culture bound phenomenon.
Dissociative disorders have been found in more than a dozen countries. DID has been found in China and Turkey.

Physiological Evidence

Physiological evidence has provided additional evidence to back the existence of DID. One review of the literature found “physiologic and ocular differences across alter personalities.” Additional studies have been found showing optical differences in DID cases. One study found that “eight of the nine MPD subjects consistently manifested physiologically distinct alter personality states.” Other reviews have found additional physiological differences. Brain mapping has also found physiological differences in alternate personalities. A variety of psychiatric rating scales found that multiple personality is strongly related to childhood trauma rather than to an underlying electrophysiological dysfunction. Dissociative identity disorder patients have been found to have smaller hippocampal and amygdalar volumes than healthy subjects.  The involvement of the orbitalfrontal cortex has been proposed in the development of DID, suggesting a possible neurodevelopmental mechanism that would be responsible for the development of “multiple representations of self.” More recent research presents psychobiological evidence indicating actual physical alter states not found in controls.
with permission from http://childabusewiki.org/index.php?title=Dissociative_Identity_Disorder

Research Evidence showing a connection between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Trauma

Objective Documentation of Child Abuse and Dissociation in 12 Murderers With Dissociative Identity Disorder
“Signs and symptoms of dissociative identity disorder in childhood and adulthood were corroborated independently and from several sources in all 12 cases; objective evidence of severe abuse was obtained in 11 cases. The subjects had amnesia for most of the abuse and underreported it. Marked changes in writing style and/or signatures were documented in 10 cases. CONCLUSIONS: This study establishes, once and for all, the linkage between early severe abuse and dissociative identity disorder.”

Multiple personality disorder in The Netherlands: a clinical investigation of 71 patients.
The presenting characteristics of the patients showed a striking resemblance to those in several large North American series. Patients had spent an average of 8.2 years in the mental health system prior to correct diagnosis. Patients presented with many different symptoms and frequently received other psychiatric or neurological diagnoses. A history of childhood physical and/or sexual abuse was reported by 94.4% of the subjects, and 80.6% met criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder.
Patients with multiple personality disorder have a stable set of core symptoms throughout North America as well as in Europe.

Abuse histories in 102 cases of multiple personality disorder.
The authors interviewed 102 individuals with clinical diagnoses of multiple personality disorder at four centres using the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule. The patients reported high rates of childhood trauma: 90.2% had been sexually abused, 82.4% physically abused, and 95.1% subjected to one or both forms of child abuse. Over 50% of subjects reported initial physical and sexual abuse before age five. The average duration of both types of abuse was ten years, and numerous different perpetrators were identified. Subjects were equally likely to be physically abused by their mothers or fathers. Sexual abusers were more often male than female, but a substantial amount of sexual abuse was perpetrated by mothers, female relatives, and other females. Multiple personality disorder appears to be a response to chronic trauma originating during a vulnerable period in childhood.

Evidence Against Iatrogenic and Sociocognitive Models of Dissociative Identity Disorder

Evidence against the iatrogenesis of multiple personality disorder
The authors present data which argue against the iatrogenesis of multiple personality disorder (MPD). Twenty-two cases reported by one Canadian psychiatrist, 23 cases reported by a second Canadian psychiatrist, 48 cases seen by 44 American psychiatrists specializing in MPD, and 44 cases seen by 40 Canadian general psychiatrists without a special interest in MPD are compared. The Canadian general psychiatrists had seen an average of 2.2 cases of MPD, while the Americans had seen an average of 160. There were no differences between these groups on the diagnostic criteria, for MPD or the number of personalities identified. Specialists in MPD are not influencing their patients to create an increased number of personalities or to endorse more diagnostic criteria. Exposure to hypnosis does not appear to influence the phenomenology of MPD.

Iatrogenic DID-An Evaluation of the Scientific Evidence: D. Brown, E. Frischholz & A. Scheflin” from The fall-winter 1999 issue of “The Journal of Psychiatry & Law – “Conclusions…At present the scientific evidence is insufficient and inadequate to support plaintiffs’ complaints that suggestive influences allegedly operative in psychotherapy can create a major psychiatric disorder like MPD per se…there is virtually no support for the unique contribution of hypnosis to the alleged iatrogenic creation of MPD in appropriately controlled research.….alter shaping is not to be confused with alter creation.” p. 624

The sociocognitive model of dissociative identity disorder: A reexamination of the evidence.
According to the sociocognitive model of dissociative identity disorder (DID; formerly, multiple personality disorder), DID is not a valid psychiatric disorder of posttraumatic origin; rather, it is a creation of psychotherapy and the media….No reason exists to doubt the connection between DID and childhood trauma. Treatment recommendations that follow from the sociocognitive model may be harmful because they involve ignoring the posttraumatic symptomatology of persons with DID.

Fact or Factitious? A Psychobiological Study of Authentic and Simulated Dissociative Identity States
The findings are at odds with the idea that differences among different types of dissociative identity states in DID can be explained by high fantasy proneness, motivated role-enactment, and suggestion. They indicate that DID does not have a sociocultural (e.g., iatrogenic) origin. For the first time, it is shown using brain imaging that neither high nor low fantasy prone healthy women, who enacted two different types of dissociative identity states, were able to substantially simulate these identity states in psychobiological terms. These results do  not support the idea of a sociogenic origin for DID.”

Physiological Evidence Showing Physical Differences Between Dissociative Identity Disorder Identity States

Multiple personality disorder. A clinical investigation of 50 cases.
To study the clinical phenomenology of multiple personality, 50 consecutive patients with DSM-III multiple personality disorder were assessed using clinical history, psychiatric interview, neurological examination, electroencephalogram, MMPI, intelligence testing, and a variety of psychiatric rating scales. Results revealed that patients with multiple personality are usually women who present with depression, suicide attempts, repeated amnesic episodes, and a history of childhood trauma, particularly sexual abuse. Also common were headaches, hysterical conversion, and sexual dysfunction. Intellectual level varied from borderline to superior. The MMPI reflected underlying character pathology in addition to depression and dissociation. Significant neurological or electroencephalographical abnormalities were infrequent. These data suggest that the etiology of multiple personality is strongly related to childhood trauma rather than to an underlying electrophysiological dysfunction.

Psychobiological characteristics of dissociative identity disorder: a symptom provocation study.
Dissociative identity disorder (DID) patients function as two or more identities or dissociative identity states (DIS), categorized as ‘neutral identity states’ (NIS) and ‘traumatic identity states’ (TIS). NIS inhibit access to traumatic memories thereby enabling daily life functioning. TIS have access and responses to these memories. We tested whether these DIS show different psychobiological reactions to trauma-related memory.
Psychobiological differences were found for the different DIS. Subjective and cardiovascular reactions revealed significant main and interactions effects. Regional cerebral blood flow data revealed different neural networks to be associated with different processing of the neutral and trauma-related memory script by NIS and TIS.
Patients with DID encompass at least two different DIS. These identities involve different subjective reactions, cardiovascular responses and cerebral activation patterns to a trauma-related memory script.

One Brain, Two Selves
Our findings reveal the existence of different regional cerebral blood flow patterns for different senses of self. We present evidence for the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) and the posterior associative cortices to have an integral role in conscious experience.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14683715

Research Articles and Books about Dissociative Identity Disorder and MPD

Overcoming Multiple Personality Disorder By Anne Underwood
Multiple personality disorder is a perplexing phenomenon to outside observers, believed to be brought on by persistent childhood abuse. What is it like living with MPD? And how does a sufferer function, with so many alternate personalities—or “alters”—some of them adults and some children? NEWSWEEK’s Anne Underwood spoke with Karen Overhill—a former sufferer and the subject of a new book, “Switching Time,” by Dr. Richard Baer.

Multiple personality and dissociation, 1791-1992: a complete bibliography

The official journal of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD), published between 1988 and 1997

Forensic Aspects of Dissociative Identity Disorder
This ground-breaking book examines the role of crime in the lives of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, a condition which appears to be caused by prolonged trauma in infancy and childhood. This trauma may be linked with crimes committed against them, crimes they have witnessed, and crimes they have committed under duress.

Trauma And Dissociation in a Cross-cultural Perspective: Not Just a North American Phenomenon
An international look at the similarities and differences of long-lasting trauma – Trauma and Dissociation in a Cross-Cultural Perspective examines the psychological, sociological, political, economic, and cultural aspects of trauma and its consequences on people around the world. Dispelling the myth that trauma-related dissociative disorders are a North American phenomenon, this unique book travels through more than a dozen countries to analyze the effects of long-lasting traumatization-both natural and man-made-on adults and children.  http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Dissociation-Cross-cultural-Perspective-Phenomenon/dp/0789034077

Sybil in Her Own Words  Patrick Suraci Psychologist

Sybil and Multiple Personality Disorder

Review of “Sybil in her own words”

Twenty-Two Faces – Inside the Extraordinary Life of Jenny Hill and Her Twenty-Two Multiple Personalities Judy Byington

Open Letter to Dr. Phil From Jenny Hill

Basic Information on DID
Basic Information on Dissociative Identity Disorder with sections on Basic Information on DID from the DSM-IV-TR, The History of DID/MPD, Diagnosing DID, Responses to those that state that DID is iatrogenic or a social construct,  MPD/DID connection to severe abuse, Recent information and DID resources,
Physiological studies showing differences between DID patients and non-DID patients

Research and Information on Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly called Multiple Personality Disorder) http://ritualabuse.us/research/did/

Disinformation and DID: the Politics of Memory – Brian Moss, MA, MFT
Information on the False Memory Syndrome, Mind Control, Dissociative Identity Disorder, The Media, Ritual Abuse, The Nazis and Programming.

Secret Weapons – Two Sisters’ Terrifying True Story of Sex, Spies and Sabotage by Cheryl and Lynn Hersha with Dale Griffis, Ph D. and Ted Schwartz. New Horizon Press ISBN 0-88282-196-2 Is a well-documented, verifiable account of not one, but two childrens’ long untold stories of being CHILD subjects of Project MKUltra. Quotes from the book: “By the time Cheryl Hersha came to the facility, knowledge of multiple personality was so complete that doctors understood how the mind separated into distinct ego states,each unaware of the other. First, the person traumatized had to be both extremely intelligent and under the age of seven, two conditions not yet understood though remaining consistent as factors. The trauma was almost always of a sexual nature…” p. 52 “The government researchers,aware of the information in the professional journals, decided to reverse the process (of healing from hysteric dissociation). They decided to use selective trauma on healthy children to create personalities capable of committing acts desired for national security and defense.” p. 53 – 54 0

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