Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a difficult enough diagnosis to live with due to the chaos and fear that often accompanies it. Add other mental or physical health problems to the mix, and you have a recipe for misery.
This article will speak about common coexisting diagnoses and how they change the lives of those who have the diagnosis of DID.
While reading the following post, keep in mind that all the diseases and disorders listed are treatable and that with work, we can overcome the trauma that harmed us as children.
Some Common Coexisting Mental Health Conditions
Although DID is a disorder on its own, there are several different mental health conditions that can hamper treatment and recovery. Just a few of them are as follows:
Substance abuse– The use of drugs or alcohol to alleviate the symptoms of DID
Bi-Polar Disorder– A disorder known to encompass mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.
Major Depression– AKA clinical depression, this disorder is characterized by a persistently depressed mood with loss of interest in usual activities that significantly impair daily life.
Anxiety Disorders– A disorder characterized by worry, anxiety, and fear that interferes significantly with a person’s daily activities.
ADHD– A condition that includes attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.
Eating Disorders– A range of disorders characterized by abnormal or disturbed eating patterns such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.
Somatic Disorder- somatic disorder is when individuals feel distressed over their health and have abnormal thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in response to their physical symptoms.
An interesting side note is that even if the “host” does not have a coexisting diagnosis, their alters can. For instance, a person living with dissociative identity disorder doesn’t have major depression, but one of the alternate selves does. This combination of disorders can make life difficult for the “host” and keep them from achieving healing at the speed they wish to heal.
Having a coexisting mental health condition may require medications to ease the symptoms to improve the quality of life of the multiple, so they can move forward.
Some Coexisting Physical Conditions
No, you are not imagining things; you do have a higher chance of living with a myriad of different physical ailments on top of the mental health coexisting diagnoses and DID.
The following list of physical ailments that can afflict a person living with dissociative identity disorder is in no way all-inclusive.
Sleep Disturbances– Insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too little or too much)
Gastrointestinal Complaints– Chronic diarrhea is not uncommon.
Gastrointestinal Disease– Diseases such as Crohn’s Disease are not uncommon.
Cardiovascular Problems– Heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular disturbances.
Neurological Disorders– Disorders such as epilepsy.
Autoimmune Disorders– Diseases such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or lupus.
Once again, this list is not all-inclusive but offers a taste of the different ways that the trauma that caused dissociative identity disorder to form affects the bodies of those who have it.
There can be no doubt that the trauma we endured as children has indelibly altered our adult lives. We may not have graduated college or gotten the job we always thought we would growing up, or we may not have the family life we craved. Then, as if to add insult to injury, we developed dissociative identity disorder and coexisting conditions to boot.
Those of us who have survived the trauma that formed dissociative identity disorder are changed by the experiences in so many ways. Physically we live shorter lives and have many coexisting diseases, and emotionally we develop many different kinds of mental health disorders.
However, with much knowledge comes much good.
Knowing that the diseases and disorders we have and how they have changed the course of our lives is the first step in overcoming them. One cannot fight what they cannot see. In opening our eyes to the real cause of all our problems, we can make better decisions for ourselves and seek out help more quickly.
Also, knowing that others, not just you, live with the effects of other physical and emotional ailments alongside their DID will make you feel less alone. That is the whole purpose of writing this post and indeed this blog site. To enlighten people to the fact that although they are unique, they are not alone in their suffering.
Perhaps that is the best gift I can give you.
“There are no negatives in life, only challenges to overcome that will make you stronger.” ~ Eric Bates
“Beautiful souls are shaped by ugly experiences.” ~ Matshona Dhliwayo