PS101 Position Paper: Does MPD Really Exist?
Imagine you're having a conversation with a friend who is a slender, attractive young woman. It's a casual chat about nothing in particular between friends. You take out a pack of cigarettes and immediately sense a change, your friend's body twitches slightly and her mannerism changes. Her shoulders square, she puts her feet flat on the floor and assumes an instinctively masculine pose. Placing her hands on her knees, she leans toward you, and says in a voice that has dropped two octaves, "Excuse me, ma'am. I really favor those cigarettes you have. Mind if I have one? I'd be most beholden to you." Your friend is gone and a strange man has popped in, literally. Again, you and your friend are walking from your car to a store, as you cross the parking lot her demeanor again abruptly changes. Her steps have become smaller, slower and clumsy as she grabs your hand and says, "This is a really big street with cars on it. We got to hold hands and look both ways." Your friend seems to have decreased 15 years in age as fast as a flip of a switch. You might think your friend is playing a prank on you because this seems like something you would see in a movie but in all actuality your friend is showing symptoms Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). You might be thinking is someone with this problem possessed? What causes it? Am I at risk? But most importantly, does Multiple Personality Disorder really exist?
Multiple Personality Disorder is one of the most controversial of all psychiatric diagnoses and has had doctors and the public alike buzzing about its almost unrealistic symptoms. I believe that MPD is not a legit disorder and I will explain why in the following paragraphs. We will also consider how the general education literacy's; critical, civic, science and values relate to this topic. MPD is a psychiatric disorder characterized by having at least one alternate personality that controls behavior at any given time. The alternate personalities are said to occur spontaneously, involuntarily, and function more or less independently of each other. Significant amnesia which can't be explained by ordinary forgetfulness is a common repercussion following the return of the dominant personality. Other symptoms include auditory or visual hallucinations, time loss and depression. Also noted are physical and handwriting differences between each alternate personality. It is generally thought that MPD is caused by extreme and prolonged childhood trauma such as physical and/or sexual abuse. Some psychiatrists feel that other extreme and prolonged trauma such as being subject to natural disasters, severe emotional abuse or combat can also cause MPD. The theory is that in order to deal with such extreme and prolonged trauma, a person will create alternative personalities to suffer the pain of the abuse while the conscious awareness or birth personality separates from the painful occurrences and hides. "Some two hundred cases have been reliably recorded in medical literature and several recent ones have proved similar in a variety of respects." Statistics show that although "Few good epidemiological studies have been performed some estimate 1 per 10,000 in the population but higher proportions are reported among psychiatric populations between 0.5 and 2%." (www.allpsych.com) Approximately 10 years ago a doctor conducted an experiment by connecting several people diagnosed with MPD to a machine that measures and records brain waves. He then subjected each personality of each person to a set of stimuli. His results proved each personality reacted differently. The difference was so extreme it was as if two separate people were being tested each time. On the other hand the control group of volunteers impersonating the disorder did not produce any difference in brain waves when their alternate personalities were tested. These results indicate that something is very different...
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