Multiple personality disorder is a common term for a psychological disorder properly known as dissociative identity disorder (DID). There is no known cure for DID, but treatment can be successful if the patient is committed to long term therapy. Psychodynamic therapy, hypnosis, and the use of appropriate medications are types of multiple personality disorder therapy that have proven successful for DID.
The most common treatment for dissociative identity disorder is psychodynamic therapy, also referred to as talk therapy. The goal of this form of multiple personality disorder therapy is to overcome and deal with the repressions typical of this disease. Beginning in childhood, individuals with DID start repressing traumatic memories that often result from physical or sexual abuse. To block them from consciousness, the individual creates multiple personalities or identities — alternative modes of thinking, being, feeling and acting. Psychodynamic therapy is used to try to access the memories that led to the formation of the different personalities.
In multiple personality disorder therapy, the use of hypnosis has also been shown to be a successful treatment. This form of therapy is also used to help the patient gain access to repressed memories. The main technique involved in hypnosis therapy is called "age regression." While under hypnosis, the patient is asked by the therapist to go back in her mind to when the traumatic events occurred in her childhood. The belief is that accessing those traumatic memories will permit the patient to understand the threats from her childhood no longer exist in her adult life.
With most cases of multiple personality disorder therapy, the patient is diagnosed with multiple psychological disorders, including other types of dissociative disorders, anxiety and depression. It is also common for patients with DID to have a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. A patient with multiple personality disorder and PTSD or depression, for example, would receive treatment for DID as well as the depression or anxiety. Treatment for these disorders is usually in the form of anti-depressant medications or anti-anxiety medications. Neither type of medication will have a direct effect on DID, but in certain cases medications have been shown to lessen the symptoms of multiple personality disorder.