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Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD)

Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) is also known by it's more recent label in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID).

MPD is the condition in which a person displays more than one unique identity or personality, each with its own pattern of behaviors.

The diagnosis of multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) requires that at least two personalities routinely take control of a person's behavior. This is accompanied by an associated memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness. Each personality is unaware, or unfamiliar with the others.

Additionally, for a valid MPD diagnosis, the symptoms cannot be explained by substance abuse or another medical condition.

Earlier versions of the DSM named the condition multiple personality disorder (MPD) and the term is still used by the ICD-10.

MPD is a controversial diagnosis. There is argument about its validity, existence, causes, and epidemiology.

MPD Characteristics - The DSM-IV Criteria

Text in Bold Italics is quoted from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM-IV)

Diagnostic criteria for 300.14 Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder)

A. The presence of two or more distinct identities or personality states (each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self). 

B. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior. 

C. Inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. 

D. The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., blackouts or chaotic behavior during Alcohol Intoxication) or a general medical condition (e.g., complex partial seizures). Note: In children, the symptoms are not attributable to imaginary playmates or other fantasy play.

Understanding the clinical criteria for MPD is helpful but learning how to cope with having a loved-one who suffers from MPD is quite different and is not covered in any psychological manual.

One of the most effective ways we have found to deal with that is to get support from people who understand what it feels like to live with someone who routinely disassociates, rewrites history, acts destructively and illogically, takes little or no responsibility for their own behaviors.

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If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.


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