Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Addiction

Dissociative Identity Disorder and AddictionDissociative identity disorder (DID) is a condition characterized by “switching” to alternate identities during periods of stress. It is the result of disruptions in the normal integrative processes of consciousness, perception, memory, and identity. Individuals who suffer from DID feel the presence of one or more people living inside their heads. Each alternate identity has a name, personal history and characteristics such as gender, voice, mannerisms, and preferences. Other symptoms of DID include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anxiety, panic attacks, and phobias
  • Psychotic-like symptoms including auditory and visual hallucinations

Abusive childhood experiences such as ongoing physical or sexual abuse are often root causes of DID. Other traumatic events such as war, natural disasters, kidnappings, torture, and invasive medical procedures can also trigger the condition. Symptoms of DID ranging from amnesia to alternate identities usually develop as a reaction to keep painful memories at bay.

People who suffer from mental illness exhibit higher rates of substance abuse than the general population. One explanation for this is that they self-medicate to feel normal.

Treatment for Dissociative Identity Disorder and Painkiller Addiction

Over half of all adults with severe mental illness also struggle with substance abuse. These co-occurring diagnoses create a vicious cycle; if the psychiatric condition worsens, chances of relapse escalate, and if the addiction flares, the psychiatric condition often deteriorates. To recover, both conditions must be treated with professional help. Comprehensive care usually includes the following:

  • Detox
  • Medication
  • Longer stay than “one-track” treatment
  • A major focus on relapse prevention
  • Therapy
  • Gradual progress

People who struggle with both substance abuse and DID benefit most from treatment facilities equipped to address both conditions. Quitting painkillers can be dangerous and even fatal. Medical supervision is necessary to manage notorious withdrawal symptoms that include the following:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety and agitation

Many people with DID find that counseling is an important part of managing their co-occurring conditions long term. Two effective counseling options include the following:

  • Individual therapy. Especially helpful for individuals with Dual Diagnosis, such as depression or bipolar disorder, individual therapy is often a more expensive form of treatment.
  • Group therapy Led by a trained professional, group therapy provides an opportunity for a person to be both challenged and supported by peers.

Assembling a strong recovery team is an essential part of recovering from addiction for people who suffer from DID.

Need Help Finding the Right Treatment Center For You?

If you or someone you love struggles with DID, please call our toll free, 24-hour phone line. Admissions coordinators can provide information about treatment for DID and addiction. Don’t suffer any longer because of untreated mental illness or addiction. Call us today.

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