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Is schizophrenia the same as multiple personality disorder?

Mark Moronell, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Schizophrenia is not the same as multiple personality disorder. These mental illnesses are rather different. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder, and multiple personality disorder is a personality disorder. These two types of illnesses cause different symptoms and are diagnosed and treated differently. In fact, multiple personality disorder is now known as dissociative identity disorder (DID). The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) does acknowledge that people with this illness may hear voices in their heads, but schizophrenia is still a distinctly different disease from DID. Schizophrenia is an illness largely caused by genetic factors, along with environmental factors. It is a lifelong disease that has no cure. According to NAMI, DID starts in childhood after children experience severe traumas, such as physical or sexual abuse. As a coping mechanism, these children learn to dissociate from the traumatic situation, and multiple identities begin to develop. As the child matures, some of these identities may become violent or aggressive, and therapy treatment is necessary to help the person recover.

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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.