Scientists Are Beginning to Understand What Causes Multiple Personality Disorder

July 4, 2012 Comments Off on Scientists Are Beginning to Understand What Causes Multiple Personality Disorder

“Researchers believe that indicates that DID sufferers do not merely have overactive imaginations, and that the origins of their ailment stem more likely from trauma.”

“These results do not support the idea of a sociogenic origin for DID.”

Scientists Are Beginning to Understand What Causes Multiple Personality Disorder

Despite the fact that dissociative identity disorder has been listed in psychiatry bible Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (currently DSM-IV) for years, the origins of the condition are not well-understood.  By Makini Brice  July 02, 2012

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) – or multiple personality disorder, as it is commonly known – affects one percent of the population, roughly the same amount as schizophrenia. Often sufferers from the condition have been misdiagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder before receiving their DID diagnosis. DID is usually characterized as a person who has with two or more personalities with completely different viewpoints on their environments and themselves.

Some believe that those afflicted use DID as a means of coping with extreme trauma, while others think that those affected simply have overactive imaginations. Of those who believe in the overactive imagination theory, scientists do not believe that DID is a genuine mental disorder.

Researchers at King’s College London sought to find a clearer picture of the answer to that question. They studied 29 people, 11 had dissociative identity disorder, 10 were people who were highly prone to fantasy and 8 people were not very prone to fantasy, as a control. Of those without DID, they were made to simulate the symptoms of dissociative identity disorder. The researchers measured subjects’ brain activity, cardiovascular system, and their reactions.

They found that there were strong differences, both in regional blood flow and in reactions, between the DID sufferers and the control subjects. Researchers believe that indicates that DID sufferers do not merely have overactive imaginations, and that the origins of their ailment stem more likely from trauma….http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120702/10574/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-brain-mental-trauma.htm

Fact or Factitious? A Psychobiological Study of Authentic and Simulated Dissociative Identity States
A. A. T. Simone Reinders, Antoon T. M. Willemsen, Herry P. J. Vos, Johan A. den Boer, Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis PLoS ONE 7(6): e39279. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039279

Abstract

Background

Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatization and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion, and role-playing. Here we examine whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high or low fantasy prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing, and suggestion.

Methodology/Principal Findings

DID patients, high fantasy prone and low fantasy prone controls were studied in two different types of identity states (neutral and trauma-related) in an autobiographical memory script-driven (neutral or trauma-related) imagery paradigm. The controls were instructed to enact the two DID identity states. Twenty-nine subjects participated in the study: 11 patients with DID, 10 high fantasy prone DID simulating controls, and 8 low fantasy prone DID simulating controls. Autonomic and subjective reactions were obtained. Differences in psychophysiological and neural activation patterns were found between the DID patients and both high and low fantasy prone controls. That is, the identity states in DID were not convincingly enacted by DID simulating controls. Thus, important differences regarding regional cerebral bloodflow and psychophysiological responses for different types of identity states in patients with DID were upheld after controlling for DID simulation.

Conclusions/Significance

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.” http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0039279

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