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Concept: Dissociative identity disorder


A number of factors likely affect the liking of capsaicin-containing foods such as social influences, repeated exposure to capsaicin, physiological differences in chemosensation, and personality. For example, it is well known that repeated exposure to capsaicin and chilies can result in chronic desensitization. Here, we explore the relationship between multiple personality variables - body awareness/consciousness, sensation seeking, and sensitivity to punishment, and sensitivity to reward - and the liking and consumption of capsaicin-containing foods. As expected, a strong relationship was found between liking of spicy foods and frequency of chili consumption. However, no association was observed between frequency of chili consumption and the perceived burn/sting of sampled capsaicin. Nor was there any association between perceived burn/sting of capsaicin and any of the personality measures. Private Body Consciousness did not relate to any of the measures used in the current study. Sensation Seeking showed positive correlations with the liking of spicy foods, but not non-spicy control foods. Sensitivity to Punishment showed no relation with frequency of chili consumption, and nonsignificant negative trends with liking of spicy foods. Conversely, Sensitivity to Reward was weakly though significantly correlated with the liking of a spicy meal, and similar nonsignificant trends were seen for other spicy foods. Frequency of chili consumption was positively associated with Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward. Present data indicate individuals who enjoy spicy foods exhibit higher Sensation Seeking and Sensitivity to Reward traits. Rather than merely showing reduced response to the irritating qualities of capsaicin as might be expected under the chronic desensitization hypothesis, these findings support the hypothesis that personality differences may drive differences in spicy food liking and intake.

Concepts: Scientific method, Food, Sense, Capsaicin, Chili pepper, Dissociative identity disorder, Black pepper, Spice


INTRODUCTION AND AIMS: As in many cultures, spirit possession is a common idiom of distress in Uganda. The DSM-IV contains experimental research criteria for dissociative and possession trance disorder (DTD and PTD), which are under review for the DSM-5. In the current proposed categories of the DSM-5, PTD is subsumed under dissociative identity disorder (DID) and DTD under dissociative disorders not elsewhere classified. Evaluation of these criteria is currently urgently required. This study explores the match between local symptoms of spirit possession in Uganda and experimental research criteria for PTD in the DSM-IV and proposed criteria for DID in the DSM-5. METHODS: A mixed-method approach was used combining qualitative and quantitative research methods. Local symptoms were explored of 119 spirit possessed patients, using illness narratives and a cultural dissociative symptoms' checklist. Possible meaningful clusters of symptoms were inventoried through multiple correspondence analysis. Finally, local symptoms were compared with experimental criteria for PTD in the DSM-IV and proposed criteria for DID in the DSM-5. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Illness narratives revealed different phases of spirit possession, with passive-influence experiences preceding the actual possession states. Multiple correspondence analysis of symptoms revealed two dimensions: ‘passive’ and ‘active’ symptoms. Local symptoms, such as changes in consciousness, shaking movements, and talking in a voice attributed to spirits, match with DSM-IV-PTD and DSM-5-DID criteria. Passive-influence experiences, such as feeling influenced or held by powers from outside, strange dreams, and hearing voices, deserve to be more explicitly described in the proposed criteria for DID in the DSM-5. The suggested incorporation of PTD in DID in the DSM-5 and the envisioned separation of DTD and PTD in two distinctive categories have disputable aspects.

Concepts: Research, Qualitative research, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Quantitative research, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder, Dissociative identity disorder in popular culture


The purpose of this study was to assess the scientific and etiological status of dissociative identity disorder (DID) by examining cases published from 2000 to 2010. In terms of scientific status, DID is a small but ongoing field of study. The review yielded 21 case studies and 80 empirical studies, presenting data on 1171 new cases of DID. A mean of 9 articles, each containing a mean of 17 new cases of DID, emerged each year. In terms of etiological status, many of the central criticisms of the disorder’s validity remain unaddressed. Most cases of DID emerged from a small number of countries and clinicians. In addition, documented cases occurring outside treatment were almost nonexistent. Finally, people simulating DID in the laboratory were mostly indistinguishable from individuals with DID. Overall, DID is still a topic of study, but the research lacks the productivity and focus needed to resolve ongoing controversies surrounding the disorder.

Concepts: Scientific method, Research, Empirical, Mental disorder, 0, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder, Dissociative identity disorder in popular culture


Dissociative disorders are frequent comorbid conditions of other mental disorders. Yet, there is controversy about their clinical relevance, and little systematic research has been done on how they influence global functioning. Outpatients and day care patients (N=160) of several psychiatric units in Switzerland were assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV Axis I Disorders, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders, Global Assessment of Functioning Scale, and World Health Organization Disability Assessment Schedule-II. The association between subjects with a dissociative disorder (N=30) and functional impairment after accounting for non-dissociative axis I disorders was evaluated by linear regression models. We found a proportion of 18.8% dissociative disorders (dissociative amnesia=0%, dissociative fugue=0.6%, depersonalization disorder=4.4%, dissociative identity disorder=7.5%, dissociative disorder-not-otherwise-specified=6.3%) across treatment settings. Adjusted for other axis I disorders, subjects with a comorbid dissociative identity disorder or dissociative disorder-not-otherwise-specified had a median global assessment of functioning score that was 0.86 and 0.88 times, respectively, the score of subjects without a comorbid dissociative disorder. These findings support the hypothesis that complex dissociative disorders, i.e., dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorder-not-otherwise-specified, contribute to functional impairment above and beyond the impact of co-existing non-dissociative axis I disorders, and that they qualify as “serious mental illness”.

Concepts: Linear regression, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Mental illness, Comorbidity, Dissociative identity disorder, Dissociative disorders


Dissociative identity disorder (DID), once considered rare, was frequently diagnosed during the 1980s and 1990s, after which interest declined. This is the trajectory of a medical fad. DID was based on poorly conceived theories and used potentially damaging treatment methods. The problem continues, given that the DSM-5 includes DID and accords dissociative disorders a separate chapter in its manual.

Concepts: Mental disorder, Trajectory, Trajectory of a projectile, Iatrogenesis, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder, Dissociative disorders


Couple therapy in the context of dissociative identity disorder (DID) has been neglected as an area of exploration and development in the couple therapy and trauma literature. What little discussion exists focuses primarily on couple therapy as an adjunct to individual therapy rather than as a primary treatment for couple distress and trauma. Couple therapy researchers have begun to develop adaptations to provide effective support to couples dealing with the impact of childhood trauma in their relationships, but little attention has been paid to the specific and complex needs of DID patients in couple therapy (H. B. MacIntosh & S. Johnson, 2008 ). This review and case presentation explores the case of “Lisa,” a woman diagnosed with DID, and “Don,” her partner, and illustrates the themes of learning to communicate, handling conflicting needs, responding to child alters, and addressing sexuality and education through their therapy process. It is the hope of the author that this discussion will renew interest in the field of couple therapy in the context of DID, with the eventual goal of developing an empirically testable model of treatment for couples.

Concepts: Scientific method, Psychology, Personality psychology, Mental disorder, Sexual abuse, Process, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder



Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a disputed psychiatric disorder. Research findings and clinical observations suggest that DID involves an authentic mental disorder related to factors such as traumatization and disrupted attachment. A competing view indicates that DID is due to fantasy proneness, suggestibility, suggestion, and role-playing. Here we examine whether dissociative identity state-dependent psychobiological features in DID can be induced in high or low fantasy prone individuals by instructed and motivated role-playing, and suggestion.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Family therapy, Dissociation, Dissociative identity disorder


We present the case of a patient having dissociative identity disorder (DID) who-after 15 years of misdiagnosed cortical blindness-step-by-step regained sight during psychotherapeutic treatment. At first only a few personality states regained vision whereas others remained blind. This could be confirmed by electrophysiological measurement, in which visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were absent in the blind personality states but were normal and stable in the seeing states. A switch between these states could happen within seconds. We assume a top-down modulation of activity in the primary visual pathway as a neural basis of such psychogenic blindness, possibly at the level of the thalamus. VEPs therefore do not allow separating psychogenic blindness from organic disruption of the visual pathway. In summary, psychogenic blindness seems to suppress visual information at an early neural stage.

Concepts: Brain, Personality psychology, Visual perception, Visual system, Lateral geniculate nucleus, Dissociative identity disorder


Schizophrenia is a devastating psychiatric illness with high heritability. Brain structure and function differ, on average, between people with schizophrenia and healthy individuals. As common genetic associations are emerging for both schizophrenia and brain imaging phenotypes, we can now use genome-wide data to investigate genetic overlap. Here we integrated results from common variant studies of schizophrenia (33,636 cases, 43,008 controls) and volumes of several (mainly subcortical) brain structures (11,840 subjects). We did not find evidence of genetic overlap between schizophrenia risk and subcortical volume measures either at the level of common variant genetic architecture or for single genetic markers. These results provide a proof of concept (albeit based on a limited set of structural brain measures) and define a roadmap for future studies investigating the genetic covariance between structural or functional brain phenotypes and risk for psychiatric disorders.

Concepts: Genetics, Brain, Volume, Structure, Mental disorder, Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Dissociative identity disorder