For the past four years, I have been experiencing episodes where I find myself in places I do not recall traveling to, forgetting things and misplacing things, not recalling things my family and friends insist I’ve said or done, not recognizing myself in the mirror, not recognizing something I’ve wrote or typed, talking to myself, excessively daydreaming, and having a character in my head that I talk to and sometimes live through. I know distinct things about this character that I don’t feel that I’ve made up. Almost everything is a trigger for my daydreaming. My mother also suffers from the disorder and I’ve told her about how I’ve been feeling. She says that it sounds like what she has but I’m unsure. Is this a genetic disorder? Should I see a professional about this?

A. It’s possible that you have DID, but you won’t know unless you undergo a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. Typically, people who have DID have a history of abuse. You didn’t say whether or not that was the case with you, but it is still possible to have DID, though less likely, without a history of abuse.

Relative to other mental health disorders, less is known about DID. That’s, in part, because it’s a controversial diagnosis. Studies regarding the genetic factors associated with DID have been mixed and therefore its heritability is unable to be determined. More research is needed to make that determination.

It’s interesting that your mother has DID. Some studies have investigated whether or not there is a genetic tendency to experience disassociation. If there is, it could explain why both you and your mother are experiencing similar symptoms. Again, the research about the genetics of DID is unsettled and thus no definitive answers are possible at this time.

I would recommend consulting a mental health professional who specializes in treating trauma and DID, if possible. A specialist could determine if you have the disorder but more importantly, how to treat your symptoms. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle