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The condition once known as multiple personality disorder MPD is a very real psychological phenomenon that until recently was misunderstood and often misdiagnosed Dissociative identity disorder DID as we now call it is a mental illness where a persons thoughts feelings and memories are scattered throughout two or more separate personalities within the victims mind Appelbaum 107 In 1973 perhaps the worlds most famous psychiatric patient ever Sybil brought attention to what was until then a rare diagnoses Sybil was ritually abused as a child and was later found to possess sixteen separate personalities including women with English accents and even two little boys Schreiber 43 The case brought DID to the attention of the public as a real psychological disorder Through recent research we can now clearly depict the connection between child abuse and dissociative identity disorder There have been stories throughout history of people who have behaved strangely and then later were unable to recall their actions These people were often seen as freaks or as people that were lying to either gain attention or justify a wrongful act that they had committed Putnam 54 The first medical studies of what we now call DID did not appear until the late 1800s The cases were of people that had no recollection of things they had done As early as 1896 researchers recognized that early childhood seduction experiences were responsible for 18 female cases of hysteria a condition closely associated with dissociative disorders Putnam 56 In a famous case of hysteria Anna O who suffered from dual personality the initial trauma was the death of Anna Os father It was not until the publication of Sybil in 1973 that childhood physical and sexual abuse became widely recognized as precipitants of dissociative identity disorder Schreiber 43 Since 1973 numerous investigators have confirmed the high incidence of physical and sexual abuse in multiple personality In 100 cases Putnam found an 83 incidence of sexual abuse
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