The primary characteristic of this disorder is the existence of more than one distinct identity or personality within the same individual. The identities will ‘take control’ of the person at different times, with important information about the other identities out of conscious awareness.
Treatment is difficult for a variety of reasons, including secrecy on the client’s part (unlike the misrepresentation in the media), making him or her reluctant to seek help, and the difficulty in diagnosing the disorder once the client presents. Typically, an individual with DID will require many years of treatment.
Because the disorder is longstanding, it can be very difficult to treat. Often individuals have numerous ‘ups and downs’ in treatment. Overall, however, extensive work with an experienced therapist can greatly enhance this prognosis.