Dissociative identity disorder (DID) is a controversial diagnosis described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Revised, as the existence in an individual of two or more distinct identities or personalities, each with its own pattern of perceiving and interacting with the environment. At least two of these personalities are considered to routinely take control of the individual's behavior, and there is also some associated memory loss, which is beyond normal forgetfulness. This memory loss is often referred to as "losing time". These symptoms must occur independently of substance abuse or a general medical condition.

Multiple personalities
Sometimes split personality is referred to a phenomenon that is really instead multiple personalities, where the individual seem to have completely different personalities on different occasions. The different personalities are in this case not supposed to "know about each other". Instead the person acts as he or she really were two separate individuals.

Personality disturbances
Another type of split personality is the one that is rather termed disturbed personality, usually of borderline type. That condition is characterized by considerable insecurity and confusion regarding knowledge of self, goals in life, values, and identity. Many of these patients can by themselves or by others seem to be different individuals on different occasions, but it is then the fragility and insecurity in the personality structure that is observed, and not like in the example above, where it is about totally differently developed personalities.

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