[INTRO ♪] In 1955, a woman named Shirley Mason visited the psychotherapist she’d been seeing
for a few months. When the therapist asked her how she was doing,
she said, “I’m fine but Shirley isn’t. She was so sick she couldn’t come, so I came instead… I’m Peggy!” Through continued therapy, the therapist discovered
what seemed like 16 personalities living inside Shirley’s mind. She later wrote a now-famous book about Shirley,
titled “Sybil”— using a different name to protect her patient’s
privacy. And that book put a rare syndrome, then called
multiple personality disorder, on the map. Before Sybil, fewer than 100 cases had ever
been reported, but after the book came out, diagnoses exploded
into the thousands. In a surprising twist, Shirley’s specific
case might not have been real, and she eventually wrote her therapist claiming
she’d made it all up. But researchers are still looking into the
disorder as a whole. Today, we call Shirley’s diagnosis dissociative
identity disorder, or DID. It often occurs alongside other psychiatric
disorders, making diagnosis very difficult. And it’s still very controversial among psychologists
and psychiatrists. But what’s not controversial is that the
way Hollywood portrays it is way off. To be diagnosed with DID, a patient needs
to have two or more so-called “identities”, or
personality states. This doesn’t necessarily mean a whole other
person is living inside their mind. In many cases, it’s more like their overall
personality is fragmented, and different parts of their history and self-image
can take control. For example, only one personality state might
be able to speak a language learned during a semester
abroad in college, while another doesn’t remember that experience. Or if they’d previously been a very religious
person, they might have one fragment of them that’s
devout, and another that isn’t. Sometimes these fragments present themselves
as multiple people with different ages or genders, but not always. And while these fragments can be complicated,
with their own wants and aspirations, they aren’t there to fulfill,
like, evil or criminal desires. So the idea that people with DID are ruled
by the worst parts of themselves, like in Fight Club or Split, is entirely fictional. The other major symptom is memory loss or
amnesia. This could be missing personal information
about themselves, or missing memories from times when
another personality fragment was in control. Also, it doesn’t count if the personality shift or memory loss are chemically-induced. If everyone tells you that you turn into someone
else when you’re drunk, but you can’t remember what you said or
did … you do not have dissociative identity disorder. And, parents: imaginary friends? Totally
cool. They’re really common—like, 2/3 of kids
have them— and this is not a symptom of your child harboring
another secret personality. But if a patient has multiple identities,
their memory is shaky, and they’re distressed or impaired by these
symptoms, then a psychiatrist might diagnose them with
DID. Many, though, wouldn’t. It’s not that their condition isn’t real— there’s no denying that patients have these symptoms. But experts disagree on where the symptoms
come from— whether DID is a stand-alone disorder,
or whether it’s better explained by other, well-established disorders. Surveys of psychiatrists found that most agree
it’s a valid diagnosis, but many think it’s commonly misdiagnosed. That’s partly because DID is so rare,
most studies on it have very small samples. But it’s also because it’s very unlikely
that patients get just a DID diagnosis. It’s usually tacked on to other diagnoses,
and this is one reason why many psychologists think that
it’s better understood as an extreme version of other disorders. For example, DID can look a lot like a dissociative
fugue state. This is a kind of temporary memory loss where
people behave impulsively, leave their homes and wander around,
and do things that they would never otherwise do. So it might seem like a shift in personality. These people also often lose their memories
of who they are, so they sometimes invent a new identity to
fill in the gap. And although a lot of these fugue cases are
a bit of a mystery, some are explained by substance use or neurological
conditions. DID also overlaps a lot with post-traumatic
stress disorder, or PTSD. That’s especially interesting, because the
psychologists who most strongly believe DID is a distinct
disorder think it stems from childhood trauma or abuse—
which could also cause PTSD. And DID similarly shares symptoms with borderline
personality disorder, which is characterized by impulsive behavior,
as well as unstable relationships and identity. One study of 33 patients in the 1980s found
that 70% of patients with DID could have just as easily been diagnosed
with borderline personality disorder instead. But, the researchers concluded that because
30% of the cases were distinct, DID should be considered a
stand-alone disorder. DID is also controversial because many of
the new diagnoses seem to be coming from just a few psychiatrists,
and some suggest these doctors may be overzealous because they’re eager to find new cases. But the doctors themselves counter that by
saying that they’re just better at seeing the signs
and identifying the disorder. Regardless, the good news is that treatment
for DID with tailored therapy— at least for the symptoms related to identity
fragmentation— is pretty effective. Which is great, because although there’s
a lot of controversy surrounding the disorder, psychiatrists all
agree that real people are suffering and need help. And like anyone else, they should be shown
compassion, and not made into movie monsters. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow Psych. If you want to learn more about the psychology
of trauma, you might be interested in our episode on how trauma can be inherited. [OUTRO ♪]

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87 thoughts on “Me, Myself, and I: Dissociative Identity Disorder

  1. Yeay! Thanks for this video! I don't personally have DID, I have OSDD-1B, which lacks the amnesia component (it's… Fun at times). But I have a lot of friends who have DID, and struggle to find therapists who don't completely invalidate their alters :/

  2. I have DID. I'm like a walking pizza person XD . I'm a slice of personality pizza. I'm hungry now. Decent video 🙂 .

  3. I kind of wish there was a mention that DID and depersonalizing are different because it took me some time to separate the two.

    It can be thought that both can stem from the same things (ie. trauma) but they don't work the same. Dissociation deals with fragments of a person's personality, memories, etc. While depersonalizing, atleast for myself, is being outside of one's body. You have your body and you know it's yours but you have taken a step away from it in order to deal with what is happening.

    Both can be difficult to deal with and deserve attention.

  4. MPD/DID is fascinating, but not a clinical disorder which it clearly isn't.

    Its fascinating as only one of the most recent is a string of clinical fads which have come and gone:

    Multiple chemical sensitivity, Ritual Satanic Abuse, Mitochondrial Disorders.

    All these disorders (MPD/DID included) are predominantly diagnosed among white, lower middle class American women.

    Seen in this light, its all the same conversion disorders expressing itself in new ways.

    What is it in our culture that gives women the only way to express themselves through diagnosis?

  5. My teacher once knew a boy with this disorder, he had three fragments as a result of his trauma
    One was his main personality, a regular young boy, another was a female personality who was very organized and neat and overall a very pleasant person, but then there was a third personality, a very aggressive and mistrusting personality. It should be mentioned that the boy came from a war torn country

  6. DID is so easy to fake, if it was real you'd see it in brain scans. Usually it's someone trying to take advantage of you.

  7. I'm no psychologist, but I hypothesize DID manifestation to be a process OPPOSITE to Jungian individuation as an involuntary defense mechanism to trauma. Perhaps it's merely a "symptom" of PTSD, but determining whether it's its own disorder or a symptom of another disorder would depend on how "disorder" is defined.

  8. Thank you so much for making this video. My ex-spouse and brother both have DID and it's so important for people to understand it's not like the movies. Seeing representations like that really can terrify people with the condition into being afraid of themselves or what other people will think/say if they admit to having it.

  9. if a person acts one way around another person, then acts a different way around a different person; they have some kind of multiple personality disorder problem.

  10. As someone with BPD, I find it hard to believe there's such a strong link with DID. BPD is too often compared to other disorders, like bipolar disorder, and it's kind of annoying.

    Actually, could you make an episode on BPD? It's quite common and has a high mortality rate for a mental disorder so I think it'd be a good thing to discuss.

  11. To find prove that this is real, you need to take a neurosciences approach, not a psychology one. If people do have these type of disorders, it would surely show up in the brain.

  12. I've known someone with DID and I've seen them when different alters were in control. The vibe I got was very similar to a typical case of mistaken identity on my part the first time around and they really did act like a different person. They also had a history of repressed trauma and an unpleasant past. :3

  13. Call it what you will, but I spent a big chunk of my life (from about 10 to 45) in a mental state where my mind was not in one piece. I never quite had multiple personalities which operated my body, but I was an adult with some "imaginary friends" who were real enough to me that it's kind of scary as I look back on them.
    I often perceived my "real self" as being only my brain, with my body just something I was "operating", my extremities being way off in the distance. I thought of this as showing how clearly I perceived reality. In fact, it showed how disconnected I was as a result of physical abuse.
    I came close enough to having multiple personalities to say with confidence that if DID isn't "real", it's only because some psychologists prefer to define it out of existence.

  14. Thise people on YouTube making "meeting my alter!" videos where each one has different MAKEUP? Fake. Arguably all cases are faked. I believe it's something people make up for attention, and that in itself shows something else is wrong and that's the core problem.

  15. lol, I met with some mental health professionals today to discuss my assessment and they basically clarified to me that if I was not threatening physical harm against myself or others through my behaviour then there was no point in labelling me and as for what I wanted out of treatment, they said that none of us know how to get the best out of our life, and they asked if I'm interested in health so much, why don't I get a job along the lines of research etc… which I agreed with but then I come away and now I just want a girlfriend again and to play the piano… she asked me about my history and where I went with music and I said that I went from music to studying maths to IT to care work… and that I don't really know my reasons but it always seems rational at the time, and she asked me 'does your personality change a lot' and come to think of it, this is why I struggle to have friends because no one knows how to treat me, because it's like I'm not the same person… and I experience a real conflict with knowing what I want and who I am and so I don't bother trying to pursue anything so that people don't expect anything, but then I suppose I should just roll with it and explain myself to others better.

  16. We only have one personality but trauma can cause us to compartmentalize. I am an expert at compartmentalization though I have no other fragments in those compartments. Sometimes I wish there were.

  17. <3. I wish it were more established. I have a DID and PTSD diagnosis. The nmda receptor is left undeveloped in children, i think this may lead to DID.

  18. i wonder how it feels like, having did.

    ur talking to your friends when u suddenly black out and don't remember what happened but then get informed that you suddenly turned into 3 different people.

    dear people who have did or other personality disorders, pardon me asking but what does it feel like having ur disorders? do you really actually "black out" when another personality comes(?)?

    sorry if this sounded rude i just wanted to know ❤

  19. im redefining physiological disorder = lack of understanding moments of behaviors tied around the shapes and colors, and reactive moments .

  20. I have multiple personalities, nine in all. I know for a fact they are real. The worst mine do to me is cause me to have amnesia. Not just when they take me over, but very large parts of my life. When I was young they were very active. As I get older they seem to take me over much less and are not as talkative. My head is very mixed up. bi-polar, schizo and more. I never did drugs and PTSD is likely. I have known two others who also had MPD or DID. They were very clearly DID to me. When I was in elementary school each personality was described as a very different person. And the two I knew who had DID were the same to me. The only treatment I had was just learning about my self. The psychologist was really knowledgeable.

  21. I was diagnosed with bpd a couple months ago and just earlier today I realized that I might have alternate personalities. I was listening to a youtuber explain her experiences with did and I drew a lot of parallels with myself and her. This is going to take A LOT of self reflection and I'll talk to my therapist when I can, but I thank you for pointing out the similarities between bpd and did. There's one specific alternate personality that I can think of, but I think I might have others. I just want clarification and closure with myself, I have the feeling that I'm onto something here.

  22. I got Amnesia soo bad that literally forgetting the things I will do for a short amount of time like walking to watering the flower then distract by pissing dog,then I don't even know why I walking towards the flower.Sometimes from time to time I remember it but also sometimes I totally forgot it.if someone didn't tell me…
    Why you guys thinks,I really have DID or just having bad memory?!?!?!FYI sometimes I also feel like not myself and acting weird not usually I'll react…

  23. Dr. Phil had a lady on who claimed to have DID.. he basically discredited the diagnosis and voiced his theory that it probably doesn't exist.

  24. No one knows who they are. We're all gonna die soon anyways. Maybe soon, who knows. But inevitably we're all gonna die

  25. My Partner have got this and I get along with all the Parts. I get work with them and at therapy with the doc. I have a autism Spectrum disorder with the typical Hypersenetivity, problems with understanding Jokes but liking my actual state really much.

  26. What about tulpas? I absolutely love mine, she's absolutely a sweetie and spend so much time with her

  27. This is FULL of misinformation. Here is an article from Harvard Review of Psychiatry that counters every myth this video maintains, including that it's rare, is the same disorder as borderline personality disorder, that it's mainly diagnosed in North America by a small group who over diagnose etc. This video is inaccurate and damaging to those of us with this disorder. Get your facts straight, you're hurting people with this misinformation!!!

  28. Thank you for calling out how movies (cough cough split) demonize us. It's refreshing to know we're not alone in our correct views on how disgusting movies like that put us, real people with DID, into danger.

  29. From what I learned about a conference specializing in helping those with DID, it's actually underreported due to the fact that it takes OVER 5 years on average to get a correct diagnosis. Not only that, but even at the National American Psychological Association, there was not a single panel on it. In fact from the multiple people I have talked to with DID, it's not uncommon to take YEARS before a correct diagnosis is made. Over the course of 15 years I actually met TWO people with DID by pure happenstance that I got to know from the Internet that lived within 25 miles of me.

    I mean I've seen a friend of mine Switch into an Alternate Personality before in front of people we've known for years, with those friends NOT recognizing that anything is different. So it's not unlikely that a Psychiatrist or Therapist might not understand what is going on. Even more so when some of the symptoms could be misdiagnosed as Schizophrenia. In fact I know one therapist who a friend of mine was seeing that wouldn't know an Alternate Personality if it bit him in the ass, he was so incompetent. If you think that's crazy, ask your local Therapist and Psychiatrist what they know about DID, and you'll often time see that they know very little.

    From those people I have read about and known, PTSD is INCREDIBLY common. Mostly due to the fact that typically people have DID when there's a series of traumatic events at childhood that are horrible enough, without enough time to recover. Such as cases involving incest that happen at childhood that go on for years.

    In terms of having Personalities that are different Ages & Gender, that is 100% correct. Along with the fact that a lot of people with DID just are not these violent dangerous criminals that the Media tends to portray. I HATE how in the US that 90%+ of TVs and Movies produced in the last 2 decades are either "Dangerous Criminals" or "Totally Faking". Which I would say helps to feed into underreporting.

  30. You mentioned a lot of outdated information. Look up the "theory of structural dissociation". It's the most recent understanding of what DID is and how it presents.

  31. Thank you for making an educational video on DID. We hope that our psychiatrist can help our suicidal and little alters find peace. You making this video means a lot and it helped our mom understand better since she can review it again when she forgets 💜

  32. If people would make up the condition; How do these scientists explain away the fact that DID and PTSD-DID are visible in brain scans then?
    Psychiatry should be based on FACTS not theory please!! For the rest nice video and good that you have explained that Hollywood shows off the charts desired terror in people not actual trauma!

  33. I was curious to see if you guys did a video about this, and I feel like you did a pretty decent job with it. Thanks for doing a good job, and not portraying it negatively.

  34. I know this is over a year later, but a lot of what you said about DID is misinformation. Usually your videos come across as well-informed and well-researched but this one ain't it.

    BPD doesn't ever present with other personalities unless DID or OSDD-1 is present. A dissociative fugue state is not associated with other personalities. DID is not rare – 1-3% of the population have it. Alters aren't just fragments, and fragments themselves are something else. They have their own likes, dislikes, opinions, beliefs, and more. It's genuinely best to accept them as separate people.

  35. I think the majority of psychiatrists don't accept the diagnosis. I think Hollywood screwed it up by making it dramatic. I would just describe it as different personality states that act independently from the one thats normally in charge. The states could act similar but hold different feelings and memories. Then you throw in the ingredient of not being aware of the separate states and you think its you but you can't understand why you have certain feelings or behave a certain way because there is a huge disconnect.

  36. Wait. So in Dangan Ronpa, there's a character who has DID, but Hank said people with DID have 2 or more personality states inside them. Would the character's original self count as one?

  37. Can someone point me to a single credible example of someone with DID? Because I've never met anyone with DID and every video I've ever seen seems totally made up and just a cry for attention. "Look at me! I'm broody and preppy and quirky!" I just find it hard to accept a concept this wild. All other personality disorders make perfect sense to me but this one just seems ridiculous.

  38. When I was still able to attend college I was going for my psych degree & loved my abnormal psych class. We did a unit on the case study of the lady that inspired The 3 Faces of Eve movie. She had such a distinction between alters that one was visibly allergic to strawberries while the rest could eat them with no symptoms. The mind is a wondrous tool & has exceptional ways of protecting itself sometimes!

  39. @SciShow Psych could you please resurch this again and update this video? The YouTube channels of theEntropySystem, DissociaDID, multiplicityandme and TeamPinata and AcrylicandAether doing a great job of educating about DID and depunking myths.

  40. I always think of myself as being two. There's me and there's another me. She is like the bucket where I dump all my negative experience in a day and she keeps me stress free the entire time so I can function well in the society. There will be a time when people say something nasty to me but being a nice person I am I always treat people well despite their actions. So, when that happens, long after the nasty people had gone off somewhere else, I will feel this foreign anger inside. I said foreign because I think it isn't entirely mine. That's when I Know it's hers. That will be my cue for a bathroom break so that I can have a moment to have a little talk to myself. The anger will be gone later… I have to do that, or I have no idea what she will do to that nasty person. She is in some occasion pretty violent. She had never caused any violence before but I'm not taking any chance. She is quite violent in my head😂. Sometimes, I heard voices in my head, encouraging words, advices, ideas, suggestions that I never thought I could come out with. She's very intelligent and protective. She's like an invisible body guard to me. I make time to do things she likes sometimes as thanks. Haha… And yes, I sometimes talk to myself, aloud.

    So, do I have DID? Or is it just another strange stress coping mechanism?

  41. I have seen some people commenting that DID can’t be real because it would be so obvious. As a system that wants to help educate people on this disorder I just want to clear this up. DID is crated in childhood to protect and individual from some form of trauma in there life that happens before the ages of 6-9. A child will generally think “I can not survive this, but this person could” or “This wouldn’t of happen to me if I was a..” and the brain can then create that person,animal, or thing to protect the child. DID is supposed to be a hidden disorder. People are not supposed to know they have it because that could potentially put the child at risk. DID in some cases can be overt but some times it isn’t.

  42. So nice to see a video about DID. I have it, and while I don't agree that it is as rare as you made it out to be (DID is a covert disorder, some people may not even know), it is still so refreshing to see a science based veiw on it that doesnt just straight up say we are faking it, or we are evil

  43. I‘m part of a DID system and it makes me mad when people don’t believe it is real. If you want to learn more about the science behind it and how it affects those who have it, check out DissociaDID, it’s a great channel on YouTube. They have a playlist called „Debunking DID“ that’s all about the evidence known today.

  44. I have DID and I barely have amnesia. Most do but I was professionally diagnosed with DID, but sometimes I freak out because I feel like I should forget but there are only a few times when I do.

  45. I came here because I just wanted to learn more about all kinds of dissociation. Lately, I have been experiencing amnesia and I have been confusing reality. I often cant remember if I had a conversation or not. Today my mom showed me a picture of her friend showing her red dress in the morning and I even said something about how the dress was pretty. Today afternoon she told me that she told her I said it was pretty but I was shocked because I didnt remember. At all. I didnt even like those kinda dresses. She showed me the picture and I didnt remember seeing it. This has been happening often lately and I've been having out of body experiences.

  46. I have two that are current
    But a total of like 8 or 9
    One is named Roman seams to be a leader or like a preacher
    One is elizabeth she acts like a queen and uses fancy words
    Those took over me today but I remember being them but I was like telling them what to do in my head.
    The others are frequent

  47. Dissociative identity disorder is my favourite topic of study / discussion …. In my society where I live , this DID is very rarely seen . Although I am not a psychology student but the field psychology is really amazing .

  48. Honestly, I liked Split, and it kinda did better with the representation than I expected, not to mention a movie about a really kind person who happens to suffer from DID wouldn't be much of a horror/thriller. But people do need to make some more realistic movies that will show illnesses as they really are and not perpetuate stigma. There needs to be a lot more awareness of mental illness and how it is in real life.

  49. OK. So, from my understanding, as a person with DID, it is an extreme form of PTSD. As a child I had to protect myself from the trauma and abuse. It was a way of escaping and feeling safe.

  50. we have 24 alters. and this is kinda correct but fragments are a different type of alters who isn't fully formed. and alters are completely diff ppl .

  51. I think my first bf from when I was in high school may have had this. I remember him telling me about various friends he had who I’ve never met. I still remember their names too. When he broke up with me via letter, he wrote it saying his name was Steven. I remember showing the letter to his brother the next day and he confirmed it was his bro.

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