Often, the general perception of multiple personality disorder can be quite negative. People may distrust or be slightly afraid of those with the disorder; this is often a result of how the condition is portrayed in media and entertainment media, such as Hollywood films. Many believe the disorder leads only to evil psychopaths or vulnerable victims, but the reality is quite different. Those who struggle with the disorder do so everyday and must battle with it in order to lead an ordinary or “mundane” lifestyle. Modern psychotherapy can help those with the disorder to cope - treatment is possible but it requires a lot of hard work on the part of all involved with the sufferer.
The disorder itself leads to the subconscious creation of different or varying personalities by the host. These varying personalities can each take over control of the mind of the sufferer. Usually, some kind of event or experience will lead to the development of these alter egos. Often, these personalities can be developed in order to escape from an unhappy reality and it can thus be seen as something of a defense mechanism. However, these tendencies are usually only seen those with apparently pre-existing abnormal leanings.
Sufferers may experience varying types of symptoms. Normally, good indicators of the disorder will include amnesia, disassociation from reality and deja vu. However, a diagnosis of multiple personality disorder purely on the basis of these symptoms may be incorrect and further investigation is always required.
Psychoanalysis can help patients delve deeper into their subconscious in order to face any existing painful past experiences. Normally, the most difficult challenge for patient and therapist is the actual identification of the condition and occasionally the condition can be confused with Borderline Personality Disorder if the therapist is not thorough enough in the examination of the patient. Poor therapy can lead to a worsening of the condition and so proper psychoanalysis is absolutely necessary in order to treat the disorder.
Hypnosis has also been used in order to more clearly understand the mind of the individual concerned. The disorder is complex and can take a long time to unravel. It is also necessary for the patient to come to realize the existence of the condition. In the event that the patient displays aggressive tendencies, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) can be used. Previously harsh and brutal, this treatment has been modernized and modified and is now strictly controlled. The family or loved ones of the patient are usually required to be present during therapy and must also undergo counseling for their own benefit.