Dissociative Identity Disorder - Prognosis

What is the outlook in dissociative identity disorder?

Research has been carried out, looking at the progress of people with dissociative identity disorder (DID) in long-term therapy. The findings of the research have been encouraging.

Research evidence suggests that appropriate, one-to-one, long-term therapy has a positive effect on DID symptoms. It suggests that after two years of therapy, clients with DID report:

  • Fewer mood and anxiety symptoms.
  • Fewer dissociative episodes.
  • Fewer distressing trauma symptoms.

There is evidence too of fewer hospitalisations, reduced use of psychiatric medication and fewer episodes of self-harm.

Despite fears to the contrary, evidence suggests that working sensitively with dissociated identities can be beneficial. It can increase the integration of personality parts and decrease the frequency of dissociative episodes. In the past, it had been thought that working directly with dissociated identities could make DID worse. Some believed that it could increase the characteristics of the dissociated identities, worsening DID symptoms. Evidence seems to suggest that this is not that case. If fact, working in the right way with identities can help to reduce distressing symptoms.

Treatment for DID can be challenging and time-consuming. However, over time, integration of identities and symptom improvement are possible. With the right therapy, the right support and good motivation, evidence shows us that change is possible.

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Author:
Dr Nicola Barton
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Laurence Knott
Document ID:
28709 (v2)
Last Checked:
09 May 2017
Next Review:
01 June 2020

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. Patient Platform Limited has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.