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What is dissociative identity, the disorder that affects Marvel’s new superhero Moon Knight

A lot of questions about dissociative identity disorder (DID) were asked since Marvel’s Moon Knight was confirmed to have it. Here, we’ll answer some of the most common questions.

There’s a lot of questions about dissociative identity disorder (DID) since the first trailer for Marvel’s Moon Knight was released.

According to the United States’ National Alliance on Mental Illness, DID is a rare psychiatric disorder diagnosed in about 1.5% of the global population. So, it’s no wonder that a lot of people haven’t even heard about it before the new series was mentioned.

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You might find interesting: Who is ”Moon Knight”, the Marvel superhero who got its powers from an Egyptian God

Here, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about dissociative identity disorder:

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What is dissociative identity disorder?

According to Australia’s Health Direct, dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a psychological condition where a disturbance to a person’s sense of identity is disturbed, which causes them to feel or be observed by others to have 2 or more personalities.

It was previously known as “multiple personality disorder”, and wrongly mixed up for schizophrenia. Now, schizophrenia and DID are considered different mental health disorders.

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What causes dissociative identity disorder?

According to the United States’ National Center for Biotechnology Information, the main cause of dissociative identity disorder is severe and repeated trauma in childhood, generally if the traumatic exposure first occurs before the age of 5.

The trauma triggers a person to disconnect and dissociate from their life, it’s generally regarded as a protective mechanism to help people cope.

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What is dissociation?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, dissociation is a mental process which produces a lack of connection in a person’s thoughts, memories, feelings, actions, or sense of identity. This is a process that most of the world’s population has experienced.

Some of the most common examples for dissociation are daydreaming, highway hypnosis, and “getting lost” in a book or movie. All of these are a feeling of “losing touch” with awareness of one’s immediate surroundings.

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What are the symptoms of dissociative identity disorder?

A person with dissociative identity disorder can go through dramatic changed in behavior and speech patterns from one occasion to the next. This is when a person switches from one identity to another or feels like the presence of 2 or more people living inside their head.

Some of the main characteristics of dissociative identity disorder, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, are:

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  • Significant memory loss of specific times, people, and events.
  • Out-of-body experiences, such as feeling as though you are watching a movie of yourself.
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide.
  • A sense of detachment from your emotions, or emotional numbness.
  • A lack of a sense of self-identity.

All of these symptoms depend on the type of disorder that has been diagnosed, which, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) they can be: dissociative amnesia, depersonalization disorder, and dissociative identity disorder.

Remember: If you think you or a loved one have dissociative identity disorder, you should consult with a professional. Please don’t take this list as a way to confirm or deny any metal illness.

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What other disorders may people with dissociative identity disorder have?

According to Australia’s Health Direct, people with DID may also have other mental illnesses like:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Psychosis.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Borderline personality disorder.
  • Somatic symptom disorder.
  • Eating disorder.
  • Obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
  • They may also self-harm, feel suicidal or have a substance abuse disorder.

Moon Knight and its representation of dissociative identity disorder

This rare psychological condition may be hard to represent in a tv show, but the producers of Moon Knight have said, in an exclusive with USA Today, where they’re looking to put out a good, uplifting and positive message about mental health.

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We can only hope that Moon Knight will have good representation and will teach a lot of people about dissociative identity disorder.

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, get help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) provides 24/7, free, confidential support for people in distress and give professional aid and resources for crisis situations.

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Sources:

Health Direct, National Center for Biotechnology Information, WebMD, National Alliance on Mental Illness, American Psychiatric Association.

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