I do believe that Dissociative Identity Disorder exists. My girlfriend is a psychology major, and I'm a medical student. We often volunteer at the local hospitals and spend time. She actually works with a patient that has two alters, both created after tramatic events in her life. I didn't believe in DID until I meant her. She shows the classic symptoms of DID, and another alter has taken over many of the times I visit her.
I don't believe that it exists- or at least it is not a widespread as many people claim. I'd love to see anyone that claims to have it- because there's a 99% chance they're bsing, because one of the alleged traits of DID is that when a so-called alter personality takes over, your memory is basically wiped clean of these events. I would suspect that people who claim to have it are just whoring for attention, lol.
I think it's mis-diagnosed schizophrenia, and I hope that the new edition of the DSM removes it as a disorder.
I believe it is an other term for multiple personality disorder; and it exists. Usually it happens due to a traumatic experience, the person unconsciously forgets about his personality/identity and start a new one to forget about what happened. Sometimes the person goes back to who he really was, and when that happens he has no idea what his other identity is.
'Dissociative Identity Disorder' is the more recent, more 'proper' term for what was formerly known as 'Multiple Personality Disorder'
Schizophrenia is a VASTLY different issue from DID.
Think of it this way:
A person with schizophrenia hears voices coming from outside themselves that do not exist
A person with DID has voices coming from WITHIN themselves that represent various aspects of their own identity that have splintered apart due to psychological trauma
The claim that it is over-diagnosed, or over-claimed may be true, however. I haven't had the opportunity to examine relevant data on the subject.
I do believe it does, however I think it becomes some what of a joke when it is used as a defense in court cases. How can a person have two "minds" ego's in their body? But it really does, traumatic things happen in life, like abuse fo a child, which creates a situation where one wishes to be somewhere else and just separates that self from the one that isn't suffering. Sometimes a child, for my example, might grow out of it or might not have gone so far as to remain separate (they were saved, etc.) and eventually the other "self reintegrates, so to speak. But sometimes they don't and it becomes a persistent issue. It would seem, based on shows, it can be really easy to fake having multiple alter ego's, but there was some interesting research being done that was quoted by my brain and behaviour prof last semester. It had to do with brain scans being able to indicate the change in function of certain area's of the brain as the DID patients change from one ego to the next. THAT is something that can't be faked. She said it might possible be used in the case of those using as a defense to murder and such. Of course a lot more has to be done before they can be sure.
I sure hope I'm quoting this right... my books on this are buried somewhere in the mountain of papers and other books on my desk... I'm somewhat afraid to go digging in it... I'll feel like a lousy psychology major if I am.