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The symptoms related to both Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) have been known since at least a century ago but it is only in recent years that these two mental disorders have been recorded into official diagnostic manuals. PTSD is an emotional illness that is categorised as a trauma-and-stressor-related disorder (TSRD) as of the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). This condition usually develops due to a life-threatening, highly unsafe or terribly frightening experience which is characterised by avoidance behaviours and cognitive distortions of the traumatic event (Ehlers & Clark, 2000). The name of PTSD appeared first in 1980 but the disorder has already been described during the world wars I and II, having many different names, one of which is “shell shock” wherein it is believed as the result of being exposed to too many ordnances during combat (Andreasen, 2010). PTSD statistics shows that 15.2% of men and 8.5% of women war veterans and health professionals were diagnosed with the disorder at some point during and/or after their service in Vietnam (Schlenger et al., 1992) while in children and teens, 15% of girls and 6% of boys have met diagnostic criteria for PTSD (Fairbank, Putnam & Harris, 2007). DID, on the other hand, is a mental illness belonging in the dissociative disorders (DD) category (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) and is characterised by the presence of two or more identities or personality states called alters, each of which has a consistent and different way of viewing and relating into the world (Frey, Haycock, & Willingham, 2012). The first case of DID was described by Paracelsus in 1646 and was still known as multiple personality disorder from the 19th century (Putnam, 1991) up until the recent revision of the DSM, in 1906 Morton Prince popularised the term dissociation to describe a clinical case involving multiple personalities (Paris, 2012) and in the 1980s up to the 1990s, the diagnosis on DID increased with the theory that child abuse is the root cause of the condition (Kluft, 1985). Statistics regarding this disorder indicate that the incidence of DID is about 1% of all adults in the United States, from 1%-20% of patients in psychiatric hospitals and is described as occurring equally in girls and boys and up to nine times more often in women than in men (Frey, Haycock & Willingham, 2012). The TSRD and DD categories are placed next to each other in the DSM-5, indicating that these categories are linked (Spiegel et al., 2011). This placement is due to the discovery of PTSD’s dissociative symptom which suggests that there is a close relationship between PTSD and DID (Lanius, Brand, Vermetten, Frewen ; Spiegel, 2012). Although PTSD and DID are both related to trauma, PTSD is generally more accepted because the causal connection between psychological distress and disasters is relatively easy to study and understand while the diagnosis of DID is deemed as controversial as its concept challenges the traditional theories of personality (Marsella, Friedman ; Spain, 1996; Giesbrecht, Lynn, Lilienfeld ; Merckelbach, 2008). This essay aims to investigate the similarities and differences of PTSD and DID in depth in terms of their aetiology, diagnostic and treatment.
Most cases of DID begin in the same fashion as cases of PTSD where an exposure to extremely stressful or traumatic events such as sexual or physical abuse is the cause, but exposure to trauma manifested as DID seems to be somewhat different from that of PTSD in a sense that PTSD is a result from being exposed to a single traumatic event in adulthood or in early childhood while DID is a reaction to a chronic and severe childhood trauma. Virtually any trauma that is life-threatening and compromises an individual’s emotional or physical well-being can cause PTSD. Such events often include witnessing or experiencing a severe physical injury or accident, exposure to war combat, violence or natural disasters, receiving a medical diagnosis that is life-threatening, being the victim of torture, kidnapping

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