FAQ: “Can I develop DID if I do [x]?”

I see this a lot, where [x] is:

  • Drugs, legal or illegal
  • Adult trauma(s)
  • Teaching yourself to dissociate, or regularly practicing, to detach from your emotions
  • Hypnosis, mindfulness, or meditation
  • Talking to yourself or exploring suppressed feelings/urges
  • Creating multiple online “personalities” and living as them for fun

Across the board, the answer is a strong no.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is caused by extreme childhood trauma. Once you’ve passed the point during normal childhood development when your ego states integrate (6-8yo), you’re in the clear. You can develop other dissociative disorders, but literally nothing else can cause DID.

This means that if you have another mental health disorder, it can’t escalate or morph into DID. I can understand why that would be a worry, especially if you’re on the OSDD/NOS side of the line.

Now, it is possible to have DID while being oblivious to the condition: it’s part of the defense mechanism. You may be amnesiac of the trauma, and in those cases, the diagnosis can be tough to believe. It’s one of the reasons it’s so critical that DID support spaces make it clear the condition is traumagenic. Accepting that fact doesn’t mean you have to know what happened or remember it, but you do need to admit the trauma is there so that you can work on healing. It’s also possible (and sadly quite common) to be misdiagnosed, and later find out you’ve always had DID.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that nothing you can do to yourself, good or bad, accidental or intentional, can cause you to develop DID as an adult.

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