Distinguishing similar mental disorders: DID and Schizophrenia

Distinguishing similar mental disorders: DID and Schizophrenia

Mental health issues are one of the major concerns for the United States. The results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveal that in 2014, around 43.6 million American adults aged 18 years or older had some form of mental illness in the past year.

Many people live with a mental health problem, but not all of them talk about their feelings. There is a lack of awareness and knowledge about mental health and its related problems which contribute to people’s inability to distinguish between different mental illnesses. Dissociative identity disorder (DID) and schizophrenia are two mental disorders that are often confused by people.

DID, also known as multiple personality disorder, is a mental disorder in which an individual has more than one personality, with each personality having its own set of feelings, memories, ideas and purposes. Schizophrenia is also a mental condition which affects an individual’s ability to differentiate between what is real and what is imaginary, his thoughts and social behavior. It is often characterized by hallucinations (experiencing things that are not real) and delusions (an imaginary thought that contradicts with reality).

As part of our series “Distinguishing similar mental disorders” which aims at helping readers gain a deeper understanding of different mental disorders and the ways they are different, here we discuss the differences between DID and schizophrenia.

  1. Causes 

The cause of DID can largely be attributed to certain traumatic event(s) experienced during childhood, such as sexual or physical abuse. Risk factors of schizophrenia can include genetics and environmental triggers. The abnormal brain structure like enlarged brain ventricles indicating a deficit in the volume of brain tissue, low activity in the frontal lobe (part of the brain that controls planning, reasoning and decision-making), temporal lobes, hippocampus, and amygdala can also cause schizophrenia.

  1. Symptoms

DID is characterized by loss of memory of certain time duration, depression, mood swings, sleep and eating disorders. Whereas, an individual with schizophrenia shows symptoms, such as  aggression, hallucination, delusion, anger, loss of interest, and incoherent speech.

  1. Identity confusion

An individual with DID lives with multiple personalities, each having its own personality and identity. A schizophrenic generally faces an identity crisis and feels hopeless due to his inability to interpret his role in the society.

  1. Impaired functionality

An individual with DID experiences a temporary inability to perform his normal functions, however, he returns to the normal state once the symptoms of the disorder cease to exist after some time. A schizophrenic begins to perform remarkably low at work and in personal life after the onset of the condition.

  1. Delusions

The delusions of an individual with DID are related to delusions of several personalities or changes in body posture, voice, or facial expressions. Delusions observed in schizophrenics are strange and do not involve other personalities. 

  1. Treatment

While there is no definite cure for DID, the condition can be effectively treated with psychotherapy, behavioral modifications, and medications. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder which can be treated with antipsychotic medications that improve the brain functionality by affecting the level of dopamine and serotonin hormones. Psychotherapies can also help a patient with this disorder.

Recovery road map

Mental disorders are worthy of attention and help. They are highly treatable. Therapy, counseling and self-help groups are some of the best resources for people with mental disorders. If you or a loved one is looking for assistance on mental health issues, the Florida Mental Health Helpline can help. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online with our experts who can assist you with the complete details about the best treatment for mental disorders in Florida.

Read the other articles of the series:

Distinguishing similar mental disorders: OCD and OCPD

Distinguishing similar mental disorders: BD and BPD

Distinguishing similar mental disorders: PMS and PMDD