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Schizophrenia versus DID

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I’ll try to make this as simple as possible, sadly there is a lot of information that comes with this question. Right so, my girlfriend has schizophrenia, she does see a therapist etc but she’d not been given an exact diagnosis. She’s also told me she suffers from bi-polar, so I’m assuming that would make her schizoaffective? Regardless, she has amnesia from time to time, she just won’t know what going on. Hears voices, and has visuals (hallucinations ). She’s explained to me that she has an altar, and he’s been with her since she was a kid, although she doesn’t like giving up info about him. She experienced a lot of abuse as a child and can disassociate heavily. She explains that it feels like she’s in a glass box sometimes like everything’s moving on around her and she isn’t. She explains it and says it’s like being in the passenger seat of a car and you can see whats going on. She zones out often, normally because she’s trying to listen. Sometimes it gets to ‘loud’ and she’ll blast music, or try to do something to quiet the noise down. There are so many little things which remind me of symptoms similar to DID, and it’s only recently that the more I’ve educated myself on DID, the more I’m noticing her body language and traits match up. She hates speaking to therapists and often lies to them because she’s terrified they’ll put her back in the hospital, and that’s a massive trigger for her. She’s only just started telling her therapist about the sexual abuse she experiences as a lil kid. The general question is, is there a chance she could actually have DID and it’s being misdiagnosed as Schizophrenia? Is that even possible?

I can’t go inside her brain so i can’t explain what the voices or visuals look/hear like. But can people with DID also experience psychosis? Could her visuals be explained if she did have DID? She has episodes and everything, I don’t live with her currently so i cant observe properly what that looks like. Honestly just want her safe and happy, and I’ve got a weird gut feeling that with everything she does and how she feels, it seems as though DID is so close to being the correct diagnosis it’s unreal. Any help at all that can be shed on this is greatly appreciated! (From the UK)

Schizophrenia versus DID

Answered by on -

A.

Rather than trying to nail down the diagnosis, this might be a time for you to consider what is happening in the relationship for you. Your email says your girlfriend has schizophrenia, or bipolar, or maybe schizoaffective, or has DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). She also and has a therapist and hasn’t discussed being sexually abused, and doesn’t like talking to therapists. My question is if you want to take this work on of managing your girlfriend’s recovery? Is this the kind of person who can be in a relationship right now? It sounds like you may not be involved with someone who has the capacity to be in a committed relationship right now.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is something diagnosed by a mental health professional, typically a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. There are several symptoms that underlie DID and the primary one is that it disrupts the person’s identity as other “personalities” or personality states manifest. These often include different voices, and in some cultures can even be identified during these states as being possessed.

If this is what your girlfriend does have this will require significant therapy to get under control. I would encourage you to ask your girlfriend to visit her therapist with her. This gives you a chance to talk about the relationship in a safe place with her therapist.

This gives you a chance to pass-on your points of view to her therapist, to ask how you can help, and to discuss if this is the right time for a personal relationship with her.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Schizophrenia versus DID

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). Schizophrenia versus DID. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/08/19/schizophrenia-versus-did/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 18 Aug 2020 (Originally: 19 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 18 Aug 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.