What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Most people have experienced mild dissociation, which is like daydreaming or getting lost in the moment while working on something. However, dissociative identity disorder is a severe form of dissociation. Dissociation is a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is thought to be caused by trauma experienced by the person with the disorder.

The dissociative aspect is thought to be a coping mechanism. The person literally dissociates themselves from a situation or experience that’s too violent, traumatic, or painful for his conscious self. It can be like watching a movie of their life from a distance.  Often associated with coping with trauma and addiction problems, persons with DID often receive different diagnoses from professionals not trained in identifying DID.  Grounding skills, such as yoga and other body-based therapies, have been helpful to teach patients how to self-soothe and remain in present. As a result of using these tools, clients learn to actually be present occupy the mind and body.

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