A Conversation for Schizophrenia and 'Split Personality'

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 1


Clearly people can make mistakes about their perceptions of the external world. Here are 2 examples:

*Drug induced hallucinations
*Seeing mirages in the desert

What about one's perception of their 'internal states' (i.e. their own thoughts and feelings)? If people can be mistaken about their perceptions of the external world, then can they also be mistaken about their perception of their internal states as well? As far as the brain is concerned, there isn't much difference between these two things - it's all electrical impulses in your heads.

Now at first glance it may well seem 'ridiculous' to think that we could be mistaken about our own thoughts and feelings. How can this be? But here are 2 examples from everyday life which demonstrate.

*Falling into love with someone and then breaking up with them and realizing that you were never actually in love with them at all - your perception of yourself of being in love was simply mistaken.

*Deja vu: An intense feeling that you have 'been here before' ... only to realize soon after that the situation was in fact wholly new and your own perception of yourself was mistaken.

Let's come now the question of identity. Are you are a singular entity or is there more than one personality in your body?

Is there is a difference between perceiving yourself as a multiple personality and actually being a multiple personality? I hope to have convinced you that there is difference. We are dealing with two different, experimentally verifiable possibilities. On the one hand, actually being a multiple personality: this would consist of multiple brain structures/brain electrical patterns which match the objective definition of a 'personality' (as yet unknown). On the other hand, only perceiving yourself as being a multiple personality: this would consist of the far simpler brain structures/brain electrical patterns responsible for distinguishing fact from fantasy.

My argument is that the latter possibility is by far the more likely. If I am correct, then perception of yourself as a 'multiple personality' would be due to some sort of disturbance in the aspects of brain function responsible for distinguishing fact from fantasy. But there is already a name for this condition: It's called schizophrenia: difficulty distinguishing 'true' perceptions from 'mistaken' perceptions. Thus if my theory is correct, there is no such thing as a 'multiple personality' and DID is simply another variant of schizophrenia.

Let's examine the personalities of those claiming to be 'multiples'. If perception of oneself as a multiple is simply called by difficulty in distinguishing fact from fantasy (i.e. schizophrenia) , then one would expect 'multiples' to display the same personality profiles as schizoids. The defining features of this personality are as follows:

*Emotional outbursts (i.e. having a short fuse)
*Prone to making wild accusations and statements which turn out to be mistaken
*Attempting to re-write history

I put it to you that this does indeed appear to match the personality characteristics of those people claiming to be 'multiples'. And therefore, I put it to you that there is no such thing is a 'multiple personality' and those people who perceive themselves as 'multiples' are simply mistaken in their perceptions.

There is one final twist to these ideas: I perceive myself as a singular entity. But how can I be sure that I am not, in fact, a multiple personality? The short answer: I can't! By my own arguments, I must admit that I cannot be sure that I am not a multiple personality.

It is, in fact, a logical possibility that all of us are multiple personalities and that we so called 'mono personalities' are the ones that are deluded! We believe that we are singular entities, but we cannot be sure that our perceptions of ourselves are simply mistaken.

However, it comes down to a matter of 'plausibility' . The overwhelming majority of the worlds population perceive themselves as singular and the definition of a singular personality is better defined. Thus the quantity and quality of evidence points to the 'singular' perception as being the perception which is correct.

To summarize: It appears that those people who perceive themselves as multiple personalities are simply mistaken in their perception of themselves and they are in fact, singular entities.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 2


"We are dealing with two different, experimentally verifiable possibilities. On the one hand, actually being a multiple personality: this would consist of multiple brain structures/brain electrical patterns which match the objective definition of a 'personality' (as yet unknown)."

I'm not certain this is unknown. I suspect that such verification may exist. There's no reason that my suspicions should mean anything to anyone else (or to me, perhaps), so I'm off to find a link. I have to get offline now, so it'll be this evening, or tomorrow, or not at all, if I can't find anything. Either way, it sounds like a fun research assignment, and I'm glad we've moved the conversation here. It seems like the right place. smiley - ok

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 3

Chris M

Clay Toy

You seem to suggest that delusions are "wrong". I put it to you that you are deluded in thinking that.

I have always been told that I was "bright", and have done my best to live up to that expectation, in spite of the sense that the older I get, the less "bright", in comparison with adults I have been in contact with (especially here). I am also deluded in thinking that my opinion/perspective carries a different weight by comparison to others, because I'm an only child, of a traumatic childhood, whose family is dead; and have therefore an isolationist's view of things, reinforced by comforting notions of identity from bleak visionary types in literature, similarly deluded types like Sartre, Camus, Kerouac etc. I'm a fool for thinking that's how it is, but that's how it *feels*, to me.

My notion of intelligence, and what is *known*, was catapulted into a different sphere when I first heard of the concept of emotional intelligence - and got a little understanding of the biological processes in how we *feel* as opposed to how we think. It's this sort of notion that allows me to reason when I wake up feeling low and worthless, it may not really be because of my pain so much as because I've got a hangover. It's bearing that in mind that tells me I should feel *rough*, not suicidally depressed.

If a person feels sufficiently *alone* then they're going to *feel*, think and behave that way, even when they're abundantly not (hi everybody smiley - hug) this may be a delusion, but it's the reality for me. It's how I cope.

I've come to feel that everyone's deluded, Clay Toy. Everyone. I see how it happens. Children lose something from their parents at an early age - the sense that they are safe and protected at all times, and eventually have to develop some mechanism for coping with the painful reality that they aren't - so the systems of personal development and belief in self begin independantly of what "reason" must naturally expect of them. That's when things like pride, ostentation, piety, compassion, humility and and other manifestations of ego come into play.

So as I wander around in my nebulous existential loner way, I see those delusions manifest in everyone I meet. Black teenagers hang around on street corners in Ipswich, in the rural hinterland of Suffick, U.K, wearing bandanas, rope gold and expensive tracksuits, some even agressively walking hip-shot, like they just Got Off The Bus from Compton. Every boss I've ever known has been demonstrably thicker than me (or so I believe) but has held the moral and intellectual high ground because of his position, his authority and the number of keys he's got.

David Baddiel still thinks he's funny. Julie Burchill think's she's right. Victoria Beckham thinks she can sing - her husband thought he'd be a trendsetter with a Travis Bickle haircut, when all he did was start another mini-trend of bully-boy chic. The Pope think's he's infallible. Rod Stewart still thinks he's got a career. Jeffrey Archer thought he was above accountability. Scientists all over the TV are postulating and opining on things of which they have no idea, yet because it's science, and they are Scientists, they have the Tool of Truth at their side, which will defend them from all opposition. A manic depressive I know thought he was Jesus Christ - in spite of it being made clear he wasn't, he still managed to set up and get running the first and only patient-run mental health advocacy and support network (now with about 150 members, of which I'm one) in the area.

Which of these delusions should be shattered?.

You yourself have brought to us a notion you're a dedicated hack from a skin-mag, which may do it for you, but just suggests to me that your comments are only of any value to a disinterested perusal between strokes.

People on this site and all over the net are presenting images of themselves that are at best quasi-truthful, with avatars and handles flying through the ether telling us he's not Martin Smith from Croydon, but in fact Ba'Khexor, Slayer Of The Unspeakable Gibbon of Fear, Ruler of the Realm of Liquid Time and Destroyer Of Worlds.

If someone has a delusion, be it of alter or ego, they're hardly the exception to the rule. It's the norm "Clay Toy", sorry mate. If there has to be a criteria on which to decide whether or not that delusion should be interfered with or left alone, shouldn't it be whether or not they cause suffering, or breach of law? Would any attempt to refute a person's sense of self/selves be of any use other than to hurt them?

Should we care? If so, what value is there in crowbarring "fact" into a long-developed sense of identity borne of intense suffering, compounded by fear, anger and abuse, founded on others' delusions of "reason", yet without empathy - or the only true measure of what *is*, and what *isn't* - subjective experience?

The question then has to be do we allow the deluded sense of "reason" of a few denigrate, marginalise, intimidate and punish people who have been punished enough already, or perhaps live and let live, and respect theirs as readily as you'd respect your boss's.

You know the one - that he is in some way higher up the evolutionary ladder than you, by virtue of the fact that if you do the slightest thing to interfere with that notion, he'll deprive you of your livelihood. Go on, tell him he's deluded.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 4


Excuse me, but the Slayer of the Unspeakable Gibbon of Fear is *not* bloody Martin Smith from Croydon. Martin Smith just managed to p**s off the Unspeakable Gibbon of Fear, and then guess who had to finish the job? That's right, none other than General Doctor Reverend GTBacchus, Master of the Five Domains of Aether, Tamer of Ultra-Demons, Half-Shark-Alligator-Half-Man, Weaver of the Streams of Space and Time, H2G2 SubEditor, and just voted whitest teeth in the Seventh Dimension for the Twelfth time running (or was it the twelfth dimension, seventh time running?) Mr. "Ba'Khexor" hid in the Reasonably Comfortable Ice Caves of Syrax while *I* did all the work, then got on the internet and claimed all the credit while I was sleeping off the effects of the nerve gas that *he* ran away from like a little girl!

Tell Martin he can *keep* the Realm of Liquid Time, cause I don't need it! I live in Aperiodic Crystal Time, and it's *better* than Liquid Time, no matter what they wrote in 'The Economist'. They can play favourites all they want, I'll vanquish them and their little magazine too, when the time comes.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 5

Chris M

Ok, I'll pass that on... assuming I can find him.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 6


Ok, Clay_Toy, I have to ask you a question. Have you actually ever *looked* for hard physical evidence of the reality of Multiple Personality States? I ask because it's not hard to find. Just throw the letters "MPD DID EEG" into a search engine and see what you find. I just did it, and I found a lot. Most of it is evidence in support of the correctness of DID as a separate diagnosis from Schizophrenia, and a lot of it comes from very reputable sources. We're talking measurable differences in EEGs and other physiological differences, which control groups, asked to fake multiplicity, were unable to duplicate.

Here's a sample paragraph. I can't put the link to the place I found this right here, but if you're interested in following up, I'll find a place to post it. Actually, hell, I'll put it on my page of external links, because you *should* be interested in following up. I expect *some* kind of response from you, Playboy, because you seem interested in this subject. Anyway, blockquote follows: [Hey Moderator - fair use, unsubstatial small exceprt, etc.]

"PET Scans demonstrate that although people with multiple personality posses only one brain, when a different personality is in control of the body they activate different regions of the brain. Each 'mind' uses different parts of the shared brain. This allows them to form separate memory banks, unavailable to their other personalities. Each personality can actually exist within separate states of consciousness. smiley - cdouble Scientific studies have also shown that if the host has a disease, such as diabetes or an immune disorder, tests done when alter personalities are in control of the body will be absent of the particular disease state."

Now, I haven't looked into the background of the source from which this quote came. I will. I'll also go and fetch the URL, put it in my external links, and link to my page of externals from here, so everyone else can follow up.

The internet's great isn't it? smiley - smiley It's pretty darn easy to get a lot of information, if you're interested and willing to invest a few minutes.

Oh, and I've followed the SkepDic and False Memory links, too. Frankly, I'm not very impressed by their stuff. It reads like creationists desperately claiming that Evolution is still "just a theory" and therefore 100% wrong. I'm not ruling anything out, but the scales are tipping, buddy. Everything at SkepDic in particular reads like the guy has some kind of hidden agenda. smiley - erm That's just my impression, of course, and I'm willing to read more.

I think *real* skepticism is reluctant to jump to conclusions on *either* side. The only justifiable position given an absence of evidence, is an open mind. With regard to DID, though, I'm beginning to see that what we're looking at is *not* an absence of evidence, it's a reluctance on the part of some people to look at evidence. Please, Playboy, show me that you're not the modern equivalent of the Churchmen who wouldn't even look through Gallileo's telescope, because they already *knew* that Jupiter couldn't have moons. smiley - planet

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 7

Martin Harper

First off - Deja vu is a memory failure - and I would hope that everyone here accepts that memory is very fallible - the more we learn about it, the more fallible it seems!

The second example has similar problems. There is an alternative explanation of the same behaviour and expressed opinions - it could be that the person in question actually did fall in love, but when they broke up incorrectly reinterpreted their feelings of love as feelings of lust. Again, a failure of memory.

Reinterpreting the past in terms of the present is absolutely standard behaviour in most (all?) of humanity. Some (Neitzsche in particular) would argue that it's unavoidable, and maybe even desirable.

I'm still undecided on whether you *can* have incorrect perceptions of your internal state - it may be so, but I'm not convinced yet. Do you have any examples of incorrect perceptions which could NOT be the result of memory failures?

> "one would expect 'multiples' to display the same personality profiles as schizoids. The defining features of this personality are as follows:
*Emotional outbursts (i.e. having a short fuse)
*Prone to making wild accusations and statements which turn out to be mistaken
*Attempting to re-write history"

I self-define myself as multiple, though I don't fit the diagnostic criteria for DID (hurrah!) - do you believe me to fit those defining features?

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 8



Top o' the page - ya can't miss it.

I'm a bit disappointed that this is a Geocities site that isn't particularly rigorous about citing sources. That just means more work for me, but what the heck. It's worth it in the name of science, right? There are what I'd call "better" resources, which you can find by doing the web search I suggested. (Any searches anyone else wants to suggest, or link swaps, are certainly welcome.)

Meanwhile, I see that Lifetime Suspension *still* hasn't died, so I'm off to see what's up there. smiley - run

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 9


Ah... 'twas Barton. Anyway, it occurs to me to mention that most of the literature I found, while it emphatically didn't classify DID as a variant of schizophrenia, seemed to advocate integration as the proper treatment for DID. Most of the sources implied that "integration" means fusing the various personalities into one, but at least one site clearly took the position that "integration" ought to mean no more than improving communication among the alters, and making sure they get along as an effectively functioning community. The suggestion was made that a well-integrated (in the second sense) community of alters is a very HIGH-functioning group, and that being multiple is definitely an advantage over being mono. (Except for the part about having endured unspeakable abuse at an early age - on which there was also plenty of research available: trauma induced amnesia, legitimacy of recovered memories, corroborations etc.)

I can see how, if the alters aren't talking to each other, sharing memories, etc, that would get in the way of, what did you call it?, synergy. (Does that word mean what I think it means?) This might be, in some way, comparable to a mono who suffers from denial which gets in the way of self-awareness. Not that I want to be careless with analogies around this crowd smiley - winkeye

All the sources agreed that the first stage of therapy should be identification of alters, and that after that, something like the second type of integration I mentioned above should be next. It's just that some people add a third step of uniting the personalities into one, and some don't. I mention this, because you (Playboy) had seemed interested in methods of treatment. It appears that we were right that this is the issue of contention, and not whether DID is a legitimate diagnosis.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 10

Martin Harper

Unfortunately (fortunately?) it's also the case that for some with DID, there were no corroborations of their abuse allegations - in fact in some cases it has been *proven* that the statements of the DID sufferer are false. All this shows, of course, is that some of the memories of some of the people with DID are false - a statement that could be made about any group of people, I suspect.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 11


I would have stayed away from this ludicrous sermon, but wouldn't want to disappoint Playboy Reporter by appearing able to take a hint.

I'll leave the rest of you gentlefolk to continue to try to nail this jello to the wall.


I do want to congratulate you on having decided to stick around rather than stomping petulantly out as you have in the past. I'll keep an eye on things here -- just to see who gets tied to the railroad tracks next.


Oh boy, I'm pompous! I'll say I'm pompous! This is my pompous day!

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 12


Hi Clay_Toy, hi guys!

I've done a little entry describing the self-decetion gene which I think is the cause of these deseases.


Clay_Toy, I second you!


The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 13


Hi Wonko! smiley - smiley

What do you think of the stuff about mps displaying different EEGs with different personalities?

off to read your Self Deception Gene Entry...
smiley - run

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 14


Hi GTBacchus, nice to see you, Well, I suppose if I were a DID supporter, I wouldn't go to the hardware layer (that is: the brain), because it creates more questions than it solves. See my discussion with Colonel Sellers and Lucinda in http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/F80756?thread=128469&skip=30&show=20

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 15


I will go there, but just now I gotta run... cyber-cafe closing!

smiley - smiley

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 16

Martin Harper

You're excluding the middle, Wonko - it's not the case that someone with DID has two or more entirely seperate brains. There's clearly a large amount of shared functionality. But that doesn't mean that there's *no* physical element to it - to argue otherwise would be to argue for the existance of souls.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 17

Lentilla (Keeper of Non-Sequiturs)

Phew. You guys have been getting into it, and as far as I can tell, GT and Chris have knocked Playboy down for the count.

Clayboy: I really have a problem with the comparison of schizophrenia to DID. Have you not done any research at all? It's one thing to sit around in a bar and shoot the s**t with your buddies, but you're making yourself look like a fool in here. Every time I read one of your posts, I'm shaking my head and thinking to myself, 'That's a mighty fine house of cards, but he'd better hold his breath - it doesn't look very stable!'

Schizophrenia is a condition caused by a combination of physical factors - genetic inheritance, chemical imbalance, and even viral illness in the mother during pregnancy. One characteristic of schizophrenia is a "split" between thinking and affect (feelings) which results in an inappropriate expression of affect. In other words, a schizophrenic may be feeling sad, but laughs instead. One thing that all schizophrenics share is the disruption of their perception. Hebephrenics have auditory and visual hallucinations. Paranoids have delusions of being persecuted, and they do exhibit argumentative behavior. Catatonic schizophrenics are either unresponsive and rigid, or they're hyperactive.

Wild accusations and statements? Depends upon the variety of schizophrenia. Not all schizophrenics are argumentative, and I can't think of a single description of schizophrenia that includes 'changing history.' Lucinda - you've been changing history and not telling me? Next time, give me warning before you set my great-great-grandmother up with the Elephant Man. ("That's quite a hump you've got there, can I take a look at it?" "What hump?")

If anybody were to be accused of having inaccurate perceptions, then schizophrenics would be excellent candidates.

But Chris had it right - we all have perceptions of the world that allow us to function in it more or less normally. Some of our perceptions are too far away from reality, and then we have to see a therapist - like an anorexic who thinks that she's fat. Some of our perceptions help us to survive in the world without collapsing in a comatose heap.

Deja vu happens when you have a number of memories of the same sort of action - like waiting for the fax machine, or getting a soda from the machine. Love - well, heck. I fell in love with my first boyfriend pretty quickly, decided he was a jerk pretty quickly and tossed his shoes, but you know what? I still love him. Don't want to see him, but that emotion's still there. Maybe we should talk about what we mean by an inaccurate internal perception.

Like GT, I'm beginning to see that you're uncomfortable with the idea of multiple personalities, and because you can't imagine what it would be like, then you discount it as being 'implausible.'

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 18

Einauni Muznobotti

Heh heh heh ... well, I'm a paranoid schizophrenic ... and I also have a form of multiplicity. I may say a few things here ... but I have to go do some research first.

The opposite view-point: DID just another variant of schizophrenia

Post 19


Chris M: A ludicrous posting! But a good read smiley - winkeye Basically your're saying: Lots of people are deluded about lots of things, so to hell with the truth, anything goes !

Tony: Research like that is exactly what would convince me. Unfortunitly the supposed results are meaningless until they have been verified, replicated and published in reputable journals. When such a time came the results would certainly be reported in the science mags. I am an avid reader of these mags but I can find no references to anything of the sort... hmmmm

Lucinda: The examples I gave of mistakes in internal perception could possibly be re-interpreted in terms of memory tricks... but memory tricks are in themselves an interesting form of internal self-deception.

And that brings me to 'recovered memories' : another term of dubious validity. It would be foolish to dismiss all 'recovered memories' but it would also be foolish to believe that they are all accurate. Each individual case would have to be investigated.

Trouble is, as Lucinda has said, the memory plays horrible tricks. I do wonder how many of these so-called 'memories' are being colloborated by objective evidence. People have gone to prison (after being accused of sexual abuse) and it lator transpired that the claims of sexual abuse on the basis of 'recovered memories' were totally false. So this is a very serious business.

If you read the two chapters of Carl Sagans book ('The Demon Haunted World', Chapters on 'Therapy') he gives a very good over-view of these so-called 'recovered memories' and he completely rubbishes them. (Carl Sagan was a wholly neutral scientist with no agenda to push)

I am not saying that all recovered memories are false. But when someone makes claims that they are a victim of horrendous child hood sexual abuse and all they have to back them up are 'recovered memories' they cannot be taken seriously until the claims have been investigated and confirmed by the proper authorities.

Lentilla: I'll be the first to admit that my research is limited. But that doesn't mean I'm wrong! I would say that no one here seems to be an expert on 'DID' or 'recovered memories' so I'm in good company. If my arguments are, as you seem to think, 'based on houses of cards' then perhaps you could explain why: (a) There is no argeement within the phychological profession over the question of the reality of 'multiple personalities', and (b) Courts in the US are now throwing out cases based on 'recovered memories' and therapists are being sued.

It's entirely appropriate that Barton mentioned religion, because the more I read, the more belief in 'multiple personalities' and 'recovered memories' seems similiar to belief in ESP, Ghosts, Atlantis, and Cults. In fact, Carl Sagan (in 'Demon Haunted World') actually puts them in the same category.

Irrationality is, after all, most often based on 'belief' , where as the light of reason is usually based around skepticism. Which of us is the hard nosed skeptic and which of is the irrational believer here?

There is, thankfully, one person here at least that has shown some common sense... That's a nice idea about mistakes in internal perception being equivalent to 'self deception' I agree that that's almost certainly exactly what DID and recovered memories really are.

misperception with regards to mental states

Post 20

Martin Harper

I think you're missing my point with regards to internal deception, playboy. The question is, is it possible for a human to *think* that they're panicking without actually panicking? Conversely, can you panic if you think you aren't?

Memory tricks aren't relevant because you're arguing that DID is a misperception, and DID is a state, like panic, not a tool like memory or spatial reasoning or musical ability. Obviously people can be deceived with regards to their mental abilities - can they really be deceived with regards to mental states?

From experience, it's certainly possible to panic without realising it - but that's not misperception - simply lack of perception. Myself, I find that if someone tells me I'm panicking, then I normally realise that I am - and I don't believe I've ever been in the situation of believing that I'm not panicking when I am. Though I have lied to *others* in such cases, of course.

For a sentient being in general, there are minor problems: the question is superficially similar to the halting problem - if panicking is a loss of mental control, then there's no reason it should be accessible to the normal mental control stuff. Just as a sentient being CANNOT detect that it is in an infinite loop, so it might be that a sentient being CANNOT be mistaken in diagnosing panic. Something we won't know either way for a long time.

Away from the theoretical - the human brain is a limited form of sentience, and it might not have evolved that capability (yet). The evolutionary benefit isn't exactly clear, to be sure. If such misperception is common, there ought to be clear evidence for it, and I'm not sure that's been presented yet.


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