“Crazy” thoughts and feelings – Dissociative Identity Disorder and Psychotic spectrum symptoms

Can someone have both Schizophrenia & Dissociative Identity Disorder?
Yes, this is possible, or another psychotic or schizophrenia spectrum condition can exist with DID. It isn’t a particularly common combination (compared to, for example, Borderline Personality Disorder or an Anxiety Disorder existing alongside DID).

What are the key differences between Dissociative Identity Disorder and Schizophrenia?

Some people with DID find their symptoms are never confused with the psychotic symptoms found in Schizophrenia – but others may be misdiagnosed with Schizophrenia, or diagnosed only with Schizophrenia when DID is also present. Experiences like ‘hearing voices’, ‘seeing things which aren’t there’ (pseudo-hallincinations caused by flashbacks) can cause a lot of confusion.
The DSM-5 (full version, p297) gives some limited guidance on differences:

  • Individuals with dissociative identity disorder experience these [psychotic-like] symptoms as caused by alternate identities, do not have delusional explanations for the phenomena, and often describe the symptoms in a personified way (e.g., “I feel like someone else wants to cry with my eyes”).
  • Persecutory and derogatory internal voices in dissociative identity disorder associated with depressive symptoms may be misdiagnosed as major depression with psychotic features.
  • Chaotic identity change and acute intrusions that disrupt thought processes may be distinguished from brief psychotic disorder by the predominance of dissociative symptoms and amnesia for the episode, and diagnostic evaluation after cessation of the crisis can help confirm the diagnosis.

Dissociative Identity Disorder is also a dissociative disorder, meaning that symptoms are primarily dissociative in nature – even when it was known by the name Multiple Personality Disorder, DID was classified as a Dissociative Disorder; Schizophrenia is classified as a psychotic disorder, meaning in involves one or more of: delusions, hallucinations, disor­ganized thinking (speech), grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia), and negative symptoms (flat emotions or severe lack of will).

Survivors of organized or ritual abuse may have some highly unusual beliefs which are not caused by any kind of delusions or psychosis, but result from the highly unusual abuse they have survived – including abuse designed to discredit survivors who tell.

Elizabeth Howell explains:

Kluft reported that patients with DID endorse 8 of the first-rank Schneiderian symptoms (Schneider, 1959, as cited in Kluft, 1987a) that are considered pathognomonic of schizophrenia.
These symptoms are voices arguing, voices commenting on one’s action, influences playing on the body, thought withdrawal, thought insertion, made impulses, made feelings, and made volitional acts.
In DID, rather than as indications of schizophrenia, the hallucinated voices and the made actions are understood as due to the activities of a dissociative identity. The psychotic person is more likely to attach a delusional explanation, such as “The CIA has implanted a chip in my brain.” In contrast, the person with DID, although probably unaware of the source, often knows that these experiences are not normal and does not seek to explain them in a delusional way (Dell, 2009c). In addition, the person with DID—as opposed to someone who is psychotic—often has the ability to be in two states of mind at once: While the person experiences the self as having the “crazy” thought, the person is able to hold the tension and know that it is just that, a crazy thought.
Of course, this knowledge that one is having thoughts that others would consider crazy only tends to contribute to the highly dissociative person’s fear or belief that he or she is crazy!


The phenomena of full and partial dissociation are highly confusing to the person with DID as well as to those who notice them. Unlike someone who suffers primarily from depression or anxiety and who can label the problem, the person with DID generally suffers from amnesia about the very symptoms experienced and often cannot specfically identify the problem…
Understanding and Treating Dissociative Identity Disorder, Elizabeth Howell (2011)

CIA, Dissociative Identity Disorder and Ritual Abuse Survivors
While high profile organizations like the C.I.A. are often referred to by people who are experiencing psychotic symptoms (e.g., delusions of persecution), many people are unaware that the CIA has historically been involved in child abuse, including child abuse with the purpose of creating dissociative identity disorder. The involvement of the CIA in these human rights abuses is not a ‘conspiracy theory’ but is well documented, with hearings in the U.S. Senate held in the 1970s to investigate this, and other related abuse.
Karl Douglas Lehman and Ellen Lacter have produced guidelines to help clinicans differentiate between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder which may be helpful, see Ritual Abuse in the Twenty-First Century (2008) – chapter 4.

Alison Miller, a psychotherapist specializing in therapy for ritual abuse survivors, comments that that one lie about abuser’s power and knowledge (that children are told) is that “There is a microchip implanted in the survivor’s body that tells the abusers where s/he is and / or what s/he is thinking” Healing the Umimaginable, p122

Miller also points out that even if such as object was found, “that does not mean it is capable of collecting complex information and sending it back to abusers, or even sending them signals, for twenty or more years, as some survivors belief.” (p205)

Diagnostic and Screening Tools
A variety of different diagnostic and screening tools are available to help determine if a person has Schizophrenia or Dissociative Identity Disorder. Diagnostic interviews can give a definite diagnosis, and determine whether both or neither are present, for example the Structured Clinical Interview for Dissociative Disorders, or the Dissociative Disorder Interview Schedule, but these can only be carried out by clinicians (both involve a degree of observation).

Two screening tools which can be used to determine if a dissociative disorder is likely to be present are the SDQ-20 and the Dissociative Experiences Scale – both of which are mentioned in the Dissociative Identity Disorder Treatment guidelines for adults. Both of these questionnaires give a typical score for Dissociative Identity Disorder, Schizophrenia, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and other conditions – but they are actually intended to highlight of a clinical diagnostic interview is likely to be helpful rather than giving a specific diagnosis. Both questionnaires result in a single score, making it impossible to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of Schizophrenia in people likely to have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Ritual Abuse/Mind Control survivors – Internal Keys to Safety by Alison Miller

Trigger warning
A minority of people with Dissociative Identity Disorder or Other Specified Dissociative Disorder (DDNOS) have experienced ritual abuse (also known as trauma-based mind control). The combination of both creates additional struggles in healing because typically alter personalities will have been created to actively disrupt and prevent healing.
Fighting against these alter personalities tends to lead to more problems and prevents healing – but their roles and motives can be understood in a positive way, and survivors can learn to negotiate with and educate these parts/alters in order to heal together. Often these parts/alters will have been lied to and tricked by abusers, and may have been traumatized by them as well. If they discover this they may choose to work towards – rather than against – healing.
Psychotherapist Alison Miller recognizes two areas of problems for survivors of RA/MC:

  • Emotional instability and psychiatric symptoms
  • Inability to keep physically safe from the perpetrator group

She states both are related to programming – which is “the training of child insiders (alter personalities) to do ‘jobs’ assigned by the perpetrators.”

Trigger Warning yellow triangle

Download Internal Keys to Safety by Alison Miller (survivorship.org) to learn more – could be very triggering. 

Survivors may want to review this with your therapist or support person before reading it. This presentation is not meant as therapy or treatment.

Related Links

Books on Ritual Abuse and Mind Control by the Sidran Institute

Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse by Alison Miller (book cover) 

Maximising Personal Safety: Email

Trust your Instinct

The hardest part of dealing with frightening e-mail is refusing to read it. The rest is common sense and a little technical knowledge.
Jeanne Riseman, ritual abuse survivor, ©2013, Survivorship.org 

Read more http://survivorship.org/maximizing-personal-safety/

Working with Cult – RA – Mind Control and Extreme Torture and Abuse

This is an important topic and fear of discussing it and fear of facing such trauma can stop survivors healing.

The comments at the end are especially valuable, as is Kathy’s point that internal people aren’t the ones who create the original traumas – they are the ones who had to survive it.

Supporting survivors of ritual abuse

Discussing Dissociation

“Have you worked with clients that have ‘extreme torture’ trauma history in cult-RA and/or mind-control (governmental experiments)? If so, what has worked?”
Thanks for the question.  What a doozy!!!

Yes, I have worked with trauma survivors that have talked about extreme torture, cult / RA abuse, mind control and governmental experiment traumas.  Bunches of clients through the years have spoken in detail about many of these things.  All of these survivors have also presented with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID/MPD), as these extreme, sadistic tortures cause splits to occur.

That’s the easy part to answer.  The harder question is addressing the “what has worked” part!


And since this is a ritual holiday weekend, I thought this might be a good time to address these extreme abuses.  I am sure that many of my readers have been experiencing difficult memories and flashbacks this weekend.  It’s…

View original post 1,172 more words

DID terms: I am not a label!

I am not my diagnosis. I am not a label

I am not my diagnosis. I am not a label

The last post about the terms ANP and EP generated a lot of heated debate, especially on our Facebook page, about the use of the terms ANP and EP to describe different kinds of roles within someone with Dissociative Identity Disorder (or as some people would rather say – within their DID system).

The replies that came back reminded me of the power and importance of our individuality, and the fact that nobody can be truly described because we are all unique.  A diagnostic label or terms can at the most only describe a few aspects or characteristics, and should not be anyone’s whole identity.

So why do some people find labels helpful to them?

Here are a few ideas:

  • A diagnosis means that you aren’t alone in the symptoms that you have, other people can understand what sometimes does not seems understandable, a sense of “this makes sense now”
  • it gives a simpler way of describing what can feel very confusing and overwhelming internally, understanding something can take away the fear of the unknown
  • having a recognized diagnosis means that there are treatment options – they might not always be ideal, or available, but you can find out what they are and use the terms to find out about other people’s experiences. If others have healed and recovered, so can you.
  • Self-acceptance.  How many people have suffered from trauma symptoms and tried to carry on life “as normal”, expecting themselves to be totally unaffected by the traumatic past? Accepting that it has changed you in some way can make things easier by helping recognize and remove some of the self-blame that often comes with PTSD and dissociative disorders. That does not mean the change is permanent, only that it is a reason to be kinder to yourself or to acknowledge that right now everyday things can be difficult.
  • The need to fit in? Could a sense of not having a label or a group to fit into bring a sense of fear, or danger? Why is that? Could it link back to particular abuse of some kind, perhaps “standing out” from the crowd meant further abuse? By recognizing that, and that it’s no longer necessary, could you be more willing to be an individual? And to sometimes stand out?

The importance of being unique

This clip from the TV series “The Prisoner” shows one man’s resistance to being labelled, and his strength in fighting and resisting.

More on the show is here but be aware of the overall spy/questioning and mind control theme – the many attempts to manipulate and confuse the main character’s mind.

I am not a label – the campaign

The title of this blog entry was inspired by a campaign by 100reasonstorecover.com

I am a human