Dissociative Identity Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Quick GuideSchizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Types, Causes, Treatment

What is the prognosis for dissociative identity disorder?

Research indicates that people with dissociative identity disorder have their best opportunity for living a well-adjusted life if they receive comprehensive treatment for their multiple symptoms. However, differences in how practitioners diagnose and treat this illness make it difficult to quantify or predict outcomes.

What are complications of dissociative identity disorder?

As with other mental health conditions, the prognosis for people with DID becomes much less optimistic if not appropriately treated. Individuals with a history of being sexually abused, including those who go on to develop dissociative identity disorder, are vulnerable to abusing alcohol or other substances as a negative way of coping with their victimization. People with DID are also at risk for attempting suicide more than once. Violent behavior has a high level of association with dissociation as well. Other debilitating outcomes of DID, like that of other severe chronic mental illnesses, include inability to obtain and maintain employment, poor relationships with others, and therefore overall lower productivity and quality of life.

Is it possible to prevent dissociative identity disorder?

Given that the origin of dissociative identity disorder in the majority of individuals remains related to exposure to traumatic events, prevention for this disorder primarily involves minimizing the exposure to traumatic events, as well as helping survivors of trauma come to terms with what they have been through in a healthy way.

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology


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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/12/2016

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