A key aspect of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is that there is amnesia between some, or all, alter personalities. It is said that those suffering from DID do not know what other personalities say and/or do. It is believed that each personality is separate and lives a full life – albeit sharing one body. There are likely as many people identifying as multiple who have personalities who are aware of each other – there is no one-size-fits-all with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The behavior, thoughts, and actions of each personality is reported to be unknown 100 percent of the time. This sets a scene whereby a person has other identities that act independently and without knowledge of the others. It is often said that when an alter takes executive control of “the body”, there is amnesia between personalities. This period is sometimes reported as time-loss – a hallmark of Dissociative Identity Disorder and the symptom discussed the most in the reading I do.
This amnesia barrier is what allows one personality, for example a sexy woman who frequents bars and picks up men, to be unknown by a personality believed to be a 5 year-old girl who craves attention and hugs from Mommy and vise-verse.
When the amnesia barrier between alter personality states is tested in a laboratory under strict scientific conditions and the results fail to find an amnesia barrier, what do these results say about a key element, or hallmark, of multiple personalities and dissociative identity disorder? Researchers, psychotherapists and patients all hang their hats and reputations on the existence of an amnesia barrier between personalities. When scientific scrutiny shows that other entities do not take control of one’s thoughts and behaviors without the other personalities knowing, the theory crumbles.
When rudimentary beliefs and unscientific statements made that are repeatedly shown to be inaccurate – it’s time to go back to the drawing board and rethink, and rethink, and rethink. until you get it right. Failing to do so and continuing to feed patients and their families bunk science is criminal.
A story that doesn’t hold up: Research casts doubt on key aspect of dissociative identity disorder (featuring Dr. Richard J. McNally)
Harvard Science: Science and Engineering at Harvard University, USA
By Peter Reuell
A new study, — conducted by Harvard’s Richard J. McNally, Rafaele Huntjens of the University of Groningen, and Bruno Verschuere of the University of Amsterdam — casts doubt on the “amnesia barrier” that has long been a hallmark of what is now called dissociative identity disorder (DID) by demonstrating that patients do have knowledge of their other identities. Huntjens was lead author of the study, which was reported in a paper published in PLoS ONE on July 17.
…To understand whether there truly is an “amnesia barrier” between a DID patient’s identities, McNally and colleagues conceived a unique experiment.
..identify words as they flash on a computer screen. If one of a small set of randomly selected “target” words appears, press yes. For all other words, press no. The catch, McNally said, is that while many of the words hold no meaning for the patients, a small subset of the non-target words are taken from two autobiographical questionnaires patients fill out at the start of the test — one while inhabiting one personality, the second in another.
As expected, the lag appeared for words that were relevant to the personality taking the test. All participants showed a nearly identical lag for words that were relevant to their alternate personalities, McNally said, suggesting that the information wasn’t locked away in a separate identity.
Retrieved 08/19/12. Full story: http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/08/a-story-that-doesnt-hold-up/
- Therapeutic Hazards of Treating Child Alters as Real Children in Dissociative Identity Disorder by Shusta-Hochberg, S.R. (mentalhealthmatters2.wordpress.com)
- Multiple Personality Disorder Doubted (sott.net)