Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

Dissociative Disorders and AddictionDissociate identity disorder (DID) is a serious and distressing psychological problem that often leads people to abuse drugs and become addicted. To recover, people need treatment for both problems at the same time. Seek help to address your unique struggles with trauma and drug abuse.

What Are Dissociative Disorders?

Simply put, dissociative disorders are problems people have dealing with trauma or stress. Dissociation is a feeling of separation from life, so people may feel like they are outside observers of their own actions. They may not have memories of what they have done, and they may feel no control over their thoughts or words. DID is a severe dissociative disorder that was formerly known as split or multiple personality disorder. Patients have many personalities that each deal with various problems, like household chores to overwhelming situations. The causes and effects of DID are still the subject of research and debate, but traumatic experiences, often from childhood, are prevalent among patients with DID. Alternative personalities may emerge from the mind’s attempts to avoid painful memories.

How Dissociative Personality Disorders Encourage Drug Abuse

When people with DID have drug addictions, one or more of their alternate personalities may take on the addict’s point of view. These drug-using personalities may justify drug abuse, even while others try to quit. Addiction can make it difficult to detect dissociative identity disorder, so note important signs of DID, such as amnesia and uncharacteristic behavior. Even people who are undergoing addiction treatment can overlook an identity disorder, and DID is so rare that many addiction professionals are unprepared to recognize it. In other words, you need professional help that can address both drug abuse and dissociative disorders at the same time.

Treatment for Dissociative Personality Disorders and Drug Abuse

Many treatment professionals recognize the connection between addiction and dissociative identity disorder, so they treat both problems at the same time. Cognitive and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can address symptoms of DID, and treatment can also address issues that created and encouraged drug abuse. But, so long as people struggle with DID, they must address each personality, or else they risk complete relapse. Attending self-help groups or therapy sessions may help, but people will continue to suffer if they overlook even a single personality. The desire to change may be expressed in one or more personality, while the need to keep using drugs is taken up by others, so treatment must address all problems simultaneously to facilitate recovery.

Find Help for Dissociative Disorders and Drug Abuse

If you or someone you know suffers from drug addiction and a dissociative disorder, then call our toll-free helpline to learn about treatment for your unique needs. Addiction coordinators are available 24 hours a day to take your call and to connect you with treatment.