A note on suicidal deterioration with recovered memory treatment

Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol 58, Issue 2, p155-159, September 1998.

Janet Fetkewicz, Verinder Sharmab, Harold MerskeycCorresponding Author InformationReceived 1 April 1998; accepted 22 September 1998.


Background: Many patients who have been told they have Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD/DID) seem to have deteriorated clinically after being so diagnosed. We report here the results of a survey of suicide attempts in patients diagnosed as having MPD and a comparison group hospitalized with a mood disorder.


Twenty individuals who had been diagnosed as having MPD, had developed false memories, and had relinquished them, were surveyed with respect to suicide attempts before and after the diagnosis.

Twelve of those approached agreed to provide data and were compared with 12 patients from an in-patient mood disorders unit, matched for age and sex.


In the MPD group more patients attempted suicide after being diagnosed than before and they made more separate attempts at suicide than before. The reverse was true in the comparison group with patients and suicide attempts before and after hospitalization.

Limitations and Conclusions:

Both samples were highly selected, and the comparison group does not provide an exact control. Nevertheless, the results support a trend in the literature that finds the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder and the use of recovered memory treatment are harmful.

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  1. Russ

     /  01/08/2012

    Unfortunately, my family is also faced with a daughter (she’s now 19) having false memories of sexual abuse (initially by some schoolmates which eventually expanded to include her father) due to “recovered memory therapy”, and has cut off all contact with us. There has thankfully been no legal action. We are not interested in suing (even though the therapists where she was treated sure deserve to be!) , we just want our daughter back and pray that someday she come to realize that these memories are false. The place she was treated by these therapists at seems to be a cleverly-disguised cult…I corresponded recently with someone who was her roommate and that’s what she claims it was and they use “recovered memory therapy” as a way of control and an effective way of separating them from their family. She also tried to commit suicide at one point while undergoing her “therapy”.


    • Unfortunately, little is disclosed about the physical harm that comes to patients while in treatment. It sounds like your daughter’s roommate is helping you alot, you are fortunate to have that available.



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