More severe dissociative disorders like Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder, MPD) have occurred in some cases of extreme childhood trauma. A strong alter character may develop in the child’s mind that takes over during scary times as a defense strategy. The protective personality may cope with the harsh situation and leave the core personality not only protected from coping with the negative event, but also may leave the memory of the event suppressed from the core personality’s memories. The child or adult may be left with no memories of what happened while the alter personality was in charge.
A person with the condition describes “multiplicity” as being like a bus that has a variety of passengers who may take over driving occasionally, and go and do things without asking, and the bus may not remember it. The “host” or main personality is not the bus driver but is the whole bus.
The full description is in the book, Living with Your Selves, by Sandra J. Hocking and Company; (G3.34), some of the author’s alters helped write parts of the book. The author would like people to understand that the condition can be coped with and that it isn’t possession by any external force. The alters were all protectors at some stage of the host’s difficult life.
The main difference between DID and less severe forms of dissociative disorders is that memory is suppressed in DID in order to protect the core child personality from whatever trauma is or was going on in the child/former child’s life.
My own feelings of disconnection as a child or as an over-worked adult have never included missing blocks of time or forgetting whole days, which can be symptoms of DID.
Seeing bad memories from above as if watching oneself from the ceiling can be a symptom of milder forms of dissociation. Conversations that you aren’t part of or other voices taking place inside the head may be symptoms of DID. Sandra Hocking mentions that hearing voices externally from inanimate objects like a bicycle would be a symptom of a different type of mental health problem and she encourages talking to someone (other than the bicycle) if any odd voices are being heard.
Recent research has shown that the “voices” that people with schizophrenia symptoms “hear” are actually their own internal sub-vocalizations – their own inner thoughts – but that some disconnection occurred in the brain that seems to make them unable to recognize the “voice” or “voices” as their own thoughts or memories.
Hearing voices may be a symptom that is due to many possible reasons rather than being due to “schizophrenia” – it may be more of a set of symptoms that all resemble “schizophrenia-like symptoms.” Several different nutrient deficiencies may cause a symptoms of “hearing voices“. If a person was deficient in all of the nutrients, which is not uncommon in malnutrition, then supplementing only one of the nutrients would be unlikely to show much improvement in the schizophrenia-like symptoms even though it might have been helping somewhat. All of the nutrients are important for health.
- The voices heard by patients with these symptoms have been found to be the patient’s own internal monologue but the patient no longer recognizes the voices as their own thoughts or memories from their past. See: “When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech, Unlike most people, they just can’t tell it’s themselves.” By Eliezer Sternberg (G3.35)
G3.12: Nutrient deficiencies may be a physical and treatable cause symptoms of “hearing voices.”
- Folate and vitamin B12 deficiencies can cause schizophrenia like symptoms; possibly due to an increase in levels of c-reactive protein. Folate and vitamins B6 and B12 are needed to breakdown c-reactive protein. (G3.36)
- Genetic differences in metabolism can affect the risk of deficiency in folate and vitamin B12. Genetic screening for methylation cycle differences can help clarify whether extra supplements of the more bioactive methylated forms would be more helpful than standard supplements.
- And a zinc deficiency and/or copper excess is more common for patients with schizophrenia; so pyroluria, a condition also thought to be due to genetic differences may be an issue. (G3.37)
- A zinc deficiency prenatally may be linked to schizophrenia later in life: (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1491625) (G3.38)
- Vitamin D deficiency is more common in people diagnosed with schizophrenia. (G3.39)
Health isn’t easy on a good day for someone of average age and average metabolism. Seeking help from mental health counselors and other healthcare professionals can help provide care for a variety of topics that may not fit easily in visit with the family physician.
A specialist in research explains the oxidative stress chemical process in the background section of a review paper regarding the possible connection between psychiatric disorders and oxidative stress. (G3.110) The short story on the chemistry is about balance between the waste produced when burning energy for use in metabolism and antioxidants available to neutralize the oxidizing chemicals produced as waste. The oxidizing waste chemicals are smaller parts of what was once the larger molecule of sugar, glucose. We do need to be able to use the stored energy from glucose, so having plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables in the diet gives the balance of antioxidants necessary to neutralize the “free radical” waste products. They are like the ions of calcium or magnesium in the way they are “free” to donate or take energy from other molecules, which may leave them in disrepair.
An excerpt gives a summary of oxidative stress and the potential link to psychiatric disorders, (G3.110)
“Hence, oxidative stress can be considered as a state where the level of oxidants [hydrogen peroxide, superoxide, nitric oxide, etc.] produced by biological reactions exceeds the oxidants scavenging capacity of the cells. These oxidants modify cellular macromolecules [proteins, DNA, lipids] and alter cellular functions  resulting in apoptosis or necrosis [20–22].” (Apoptosis or necrosis = cell death)
“The brain with its extensive capacity to consume large amounts of oxygen and production of free radicals, is considered especially sensitive to oxidative damage [12, 23]. Therefore, it is not surprising that oxidative stress is implicated in several disorders of the brain including neurodegenerative disorders [23–26], psychiatric ailments , and anxiety . This association is largely due to the high vulnerability of brain to oxidative load .”
Read more: Oxidative Stress and Psychological Disorders, (G3.110).
- The topic of psychiatric disorders, TRP channels, oxidative stress, infertility and pre-eclampsia is more complex than I’ve led you to believe in this overview and this page is already long so the discussion will be continued on a separate page focused more on TRP channels – they are an exciting topic, see G. Pre-eclampsia &TRP Channels.
So speak nicely to yourself, you might be listening. And it turns out that words can hurt after all, not just sticks and stones. A book called What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, by Shad Helmstetter, goes into more detail about the emotional impact that can occur due to how and what we think to ourselves. How we phrase our thoughts and goals can affect our success and enjoyment in life, that seems like a no-brainer, but maybe not to the nervous toddler who is still trying to stand up in the adult sized shoes – a little wobbly but trying. (G3.111)
The glossary section G. Fear & the Inner Child has more information and resources about early childhood experiences and emotional development and the possible creative benefits of dissociation. The section G. Autoimmune Disease & Vitamin D continues the medical discussion of oxidative stress, magnesium deficiency, and why an Epsom salt foot soak or bath might help an autoimmune condition in addition to improving a bad mood and soothing a muscle cramp and sore back – one stop shopping, now that is efficiency.
See a healthcare provider for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
- Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a service for locating a nutrition counselor near you at the website eatright.org: (eatright.org/find-an-expert)
Crisis Hotlines and Resources:
- U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: Call 1-800-273-8255, Available 24 hours everyday. (I.suicidepreventionlifeline.org)
- National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: “SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.” (I.samhsa.org)
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.RAINN.org)
- Child Welfare Information Gateway: a variety of toll-free hotline numbers for concerns involving the safety of children. (I.20)
- Power and Control and Equality Wheels The following training materials are for helping victims of domestic violence and batterers learn how to recognize problem behaviors but emotional manipulation or abuse of power and control can occur in many types of relationships not just between couples.The Power and Control Wheel (I.21) was developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP). (I.22) Manipulative behaviors are grouped into eight categories in the model. An additional Equality Wheel (I.23) was developed to help guide batterers and victims of emotional or physical abuse towards healthier ways to interact. It is grouped into eight equivalent categories with examples of healthier ways to interact with each other. Problems frequently can involve communication issues by both people in a relationship.
Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.
- U.S. National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-8255
- National Helpline: Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Services Administration. SAMHSA Hotline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357), (I.17.samhsa.org)
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, RAINN Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE, (I.18.RAINN.org)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: 24/7 confidential support at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. (I.19.thehotline.org)
- I.20: Child Welfare Information Gateway,. childwelfare.gov, https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/reslist/tollfree/ (I. child welfare gateway) (I.20)
- I.21: Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), Power and Control Wheel graphic, theduluthmodel.org, Power and Control Wheel (I.21)
- I.22: Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, DAIP, Training Wheels, theduluthmodel.org,(DAIP) (I.22)
- I.23: Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, DAIP, Equality Wheel, theduluthmodel.org, Equality Wheel (I.23)
- G3.34: Sandra J. Hocking and Company, Living With Your Selves: A Survival Manual for People With Multiple Personalities, Launch Press, 1992, https://www.amazon.com/Living-Your-Selves-Survival-Personalities/dp/1877872067 (G3.34)
- G3.35: Eliezer Sternberg, When People With Schizophrenia Hear Voices, They’re Really Hearing Their Own Subvocal Speech, Unlike most people, they just can’t tell it’s themselves. slate.com, March 2, 2016 http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2016/03/schizophrenia_and_subvocal_speech_why_schizophrenics_hear_the_voices_of.html (G3.35)
- G3.36: Judy Hanning, C-reactive protein may be a causal factor for schizophrenia. Learningsuccessblog.com, July 16, 2010, https://www.learningsuccessblog.com/blog/neuroscience-learning/creactive-protein-%E2%80%9Cmay-be-causal-risk-factor-schizophrenia%E2%80%9D (G3.36)
- G3.37: David Hale, Timothy Test, The Role of Zinc Supplementation in the Treatment of Schizophrenia. academia.edu http://www.academia.edu/1096257/The_Role_of_Zinc_Supplementation_in_the_Treatment_of_Schizophrenia (G3.37)
- G3.38: Editorials, Schizophrenia: a genetic disorder of the synapse?, BMJ 2005;330:158 http://www.bmj.com/rapid-response/2011/10/30/does-zinc-deficiency-early-foetal-life-cause-schizophrenia (G3.38)
- G3.39: Pyschcentral.com, http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/07/23/vitamin-d-deficiency-common-in-schizophrenia/72813.html (G3.39)
- G3.110: Samina Salim, Oxidative Stress and Psychological Disorders, Curr Neuropharmacol. 2014 Mar; 12(2): 140–147.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3964745/ (G3.110)
- G3.111: Shad Helmstetter, What to Say When You Talk to Yourself, Pocket Books (January 15, 1990) https://www.amazon.com/What-Say-When-Talk-Yourself/dp/0671708821, (G3.111)