What is dissociative identity disorder?

Dissociative identity disorder is the existence within a person of two or more distinct personalities or personality states, each of which may seem as if it has a distinct personal history, self-image, and identity, including a separate name. At least two of these identities or personality states repeatedly take control of the person's behavior. The different personalities are sometimes called "alters".

Dissociation is a state in which a person is completely unaware of certain parts or aspects of him or herself. This illness is called dissociative identity disorder because the illness involves states in which a person is aware of one aspect of his/her personality and completely unaware of other parts.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.