It is imperative that mental health care consumers understand that the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, is not a definitive bible of psychiatry that is intended to legitimize psychiatric conditions. The publication is steeped in politics, the influence of the pharmaceutical companies, research dollars, and more controversy than a publication of this magnitude should have.
Unfortunately, many patients seek or already have the diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder, or multiple personalities, and are being treated for this psychiatric condition that I, and many others, believe is non-existent and nothing more than a byproduct of misguided psychotherapy.
As Wikipedia states, “The most fundamental scientific criticism of the DSM concerns the validity and reliability of its diagnoses. This refers, roughly, to whether the disorders it defines are actually real conditions in people in the real world, that can be consistently identified by its criteria.”
Psychiatric conditions are largely determined on the basis on a set of complaints and heavily depends upon clinical observations. It cannot be said that if A, B, and C exist, and blood tests concur, an individual most likely suffers from a certain condition. Most psychiatric conditions are not that straight forward. This condition in particular is easily influenced by therapists and their belief systems making it likely that practitioners find symptoms they are looking for in their patient’s behavior.
A point I often bring up is that DID/MPD would be difficult to find in many other. Instead of pondering the question, I get an easy answer, “Well, they just don’t have the tools, it’s certainly there.” Nonsense. The diagnosis of multiple personalities is largely an American malady afflicting mostly middle to upper-middle class educated-white women. Why is that fact either not known, not disclosed, or ignored?
Wikipedia highlights the cultural aspect of Euro-American outlook. Although these guidelines have been widely implemented, opponents argue that even when a diagnostic criteria set is accepted across different cultures, it does not necessarily indicate that the underlying constructs have any validity within those cultures; even reliable application can only demonstrate consistency, not legitimacy.”included in the DMS. “In addition, current diagnostic guidelines have been criticized as having a fundamentally
Multiple personalities and dissociative identity disorder is a culture-bound syndrome found mostly in America and Western countries. It is not a worldwide illness waiting to be diagnosed and treated. Steeped in American cultural tradition multiple personalities and its inclusion in the DSM is a psychiatric hot-button issue with a long history that has not resolved itself.
Accepting the inclusion of a mental disorder’s legitimacy based on whether or not it is in the DSM, is a faulty way to decide whether or not to accept the diagnosis, or to seek it. Within the psychiatric community, there is no universally accepted treatment, no scientific method to diagnose it, no consensus on what terminology to use, and no consensus on the definitions of terms used most frequently. In addition, no drug is known to “cure” it beyond alleviating symptoms like anxiety, PTSD, insomnia and other secondary issues.
If you choose to jump into the murky waters of dissociative identity disorder and the ensuing lifestyle, know that you, and your loved ones, are likely to be submerged in and consumed by it for a long time.