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Until 1994, dissociative identity disorder was commonly referred to as multiple personality disorder. This seemed like an apt term at the time, but as doctors continue to better understand the condition, they are shying away from this terminology. Research has expanded and refined the definition of dissociative identity disorder.

Only 1% of the general population has been diagnosed with the condition, but experts believe far more people have dissociative identity disorder and simply lack an official diagnosis.

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1. Definition

Someone with dissociative identity disorder cannot integrate the individual parts of their personality into a single identity. Usually, a primary personality emerges that identifies with the person's given name and commonly demonstrates signs of guilt, passivity, and depression. Other personality states are referred to as "alters." These personalities can have different ages, genders, knowledge, and moods than the primary personality. They may or may not know the other alters.

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