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Background of the Movie Split

Question:

Discuss about the Dissociative Identity Disorder in Split 2016.

Dissociative identity disorder also known as multiple personality disorder is a condition wherein the identity of a person is divided into two or more personalities that are distinctively present (Dorahy et al, 2014). The people who suffer from this mental illness are generally the targets of severe bullying and abuse. The following essay deals with the portrayal of dissociative identity disorder in the movie Split. The essay proceeds to discuss the issues presented by the illness worldwide as well as the concerned country. It also discusses the socio-cultural impacts of the disease on the individual suffering from the condition as well as their families and their workplaces. The essay also attempts to find out some ways of treating and managing the illness. The essay concludes with the recommendations towards the clients on the ways to manage the mental condition.

The movie Split deals with the struggle of a mentally unstable serial killer, Kevin. The movie was considered to be a sequel to the movie Unbreakable which was also written, directed and produced by M. Night Shyamalan (Pulver, 2017). The movie was first premiered on the 26th of September, 2016 at the Fantastic Fest. It was released on the 20th of January, 2017 under the banner of the famous Universal Pictures. The movie received accolades and had also been labelled by a section of the critics for marking the comeback of Shyamalan. The movie had also received high amounts of criticism for the stigmatised portrayal of the sensitive issue of mental health. The director, M. Night Shyamalan, portrays the emergence of horror from the mental condition of dissociative personal disorder or DID. The movie talks about the central character Kevin. The psychological horror-thriller deals with the 23 different types of personalities that exist in the same person (Www.youtube.com, 2017). The person is shown to have kidnapped three girls who are in their teenage years. They had been imprisoned in an underground facility and had been kept isolated from the outer world. The three girls were meant to serve as offerings to the dark powers.


The mental illness that is described in the movie is commonly known as Dissociative identity disorder or DID. In the storyline of the movie is found that the protagonist suffers from the condition. The victims of Kevin learn about this character trait of the person only after their kidnapping an imprisonment. The doctor who had been dealing with the case of Kevin had reported to have identified 23 different personalities within the same person. According to the doctor, Dr. Fletcher the different personalities can be viewed as sitting in chairs in a room inside the mind of Kevin. They wait for their turns in order to take control over the body of Kevin. The major dominating personality is that of Barry and this is the persona that is found deciding on which personality should be taking control of the physical attributes of Kevin at a given point of time. The doctor identifies that these personalities had risen to power in order to help the protagonist to cope up with the abuses that were inflicted upon him during his childhood by his mother who suffered from the obsessive-compulsive disorderly state of mind.

Dissociative Identity Disorder in the Movie

The dissociative identity disorder is mainly characterized by two or more split or distinct personalities of the same person (Paris, 2012). These personalities continuously control the behaviour of the person. As a result, the patients who suffer from this disorder are unable to remember any of the personal information. This forgetfulness is not similar to the simple forgetfulness that people face in their daily lives (Staniloiu & Markowitsch, 2014). The person may experience memory variations that are highly distinct and fluctuate with the split personalities that are resident within the mind of the concerned person. The different personalities of the person may belong to different ages, racial divisions and even may have different genders. All these personalities may have different behavioural patterns like gestures, postures and the way of speech even. The identities may be imaginary people or even animals. The different identities reveal themselves and take control over the thoughts and behaviours of the concerned individual. This process is known a s switching and may take days, minutes or even seconds to take place. The person suffering from dissociative identity disorder may face a number of symptoms such as tendencies towards committing suicide, symptoms inclusive of visual and auditory hallucinations that are similar to psychotics, feelings of depression and anxiety, disorders of sleep and eating, drug and alcohol abuse (Ross, Ferrell & Schroeder, 2014).


Dissociative identity disorder had been considered to be a rare phenomenon in the earlier days. However, in the modern times, the disorder is considered to be a more commonplace occurrence than it was earlier. This is due to the fact that the causes that ensure the conditions of the disorder. The number of reported incidents of childhood abuses have seen a rapid increase in the recent times as compared to the number of reported cases in the past. People who are diagnosed with the dissociative identity disorder may be loving towards their children. The chronic defensive nature of the dissociation identity disorder may cause serious malfunctions in the spheres of society, family, work, and other day-to-day activities. The repetition in the dissociations may lead to a series of separate mental states or entities. The trauma survivor takes these identities to be his own identity at the given point of time (Markowitsch & Staniloiu, 2012). The victim keeps switching between these identities from time to time. The parent who has grown up in an abusive environment may be display the characteristics of the violence he has experienced during his growing years from his own parents.

Characteristics and Symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder

It may also be that this disorder of the parent comes to the forefront as the child grows up to attain the age when the parent was traumatised. The appearance, age and behaviours of the child may serve as a trigger to the parent, thereby reminding him of the abuse he had faced during his childhood days (Www.sidran.org, 2017). The parent may subconsciously act in a way to the that may prove to be non-nurturing for the child. The alternative personalities of the person are manifestations of the same person and not separate persons. The children may be abused or deliberately hurt by the parents. The parent who has been brought up in the abusive environments may under the influence of these identities wrongly perceive their kids to be someone else thus treat them with hostility. There may also be incidents wherein an alternate aggressive identity turns hostile towards the child. This behavioural tendencies may also lead to development of the similar conditions in the child. In the places of work too, the people suffering from dissociative identity disorder may lead to the suffering of the co-workers of the concerned person.


The most common methods for the nursing of dissociative identity disorder include hypnosis, psychotherapy, family and group therapy and the cognitive behavioural therapy (Krakauer, 2013). Identity confusion, amnesia, alteration of identity, flashbacks, headaches, nightmares, emotional instability are the several symptoms that a patient of dissociative identity disorder may portray (Gentile, Dillon & Gillig, 2013). The patients may also face certain somatic conditions that may include genitourinary and gastrointestinal disturbances. Family and group therapy requires the involvement of the family of the patient suffering from the condition in order to bring about change in the condition of the patient. This therauptic process includes the identification of the situation that the victim is facing and passing on the same towards their family and closed ones. The rationale behind this theory rests in the fact that the first care givers in case of mental illnesses are the family members. The family members are the ones who provide the victim with the primary support. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to change the dysfunctional feelings, thinking patterns and behaviours of the person suffering from the condition (Brand et al, 2012. The common interventions of this therapy include the identification of the situations that are generally avoided and the identification of and the challenging of the negative thought-processes (Chlebowski & Gregory, 2012). The patients are fully informed of their conditions and only then is the treatment started.

Impact of Dissociative Identity Disorder on Individuals and Families


There are certain issues that a person might face while undergoing the recommended treatment for the mental illness. The individual outpatient psychotherapy is considered to be one of the primary modalities for the dissociative personality disorders. The characteristics and abilities of the patient, the clinician’s preferences as well as the external factors such as availability of the skilled therapists, insurances and other similar financial resources pose to be hindrances in the way of the treatment that needs to be meted out to the patients. In conclusion to the above discussion, some recommendations might be put forward in order to help the patients suffering from the mental condition. The patients must be dealt with very carefully so as to help in reduction of the split in their mental conditions. They should be treated with regular counselling and hypnosis sessions so as to help them overcome the trauma that may have been deep-rooted in their memories. The victims must be helped to free themselves from the clutches of the trauma that they might have been facing which may have resulted in the mental illness of dissociative identity disorder in them.

References

Brand, B. L., Myrick, A. C., Loewenstein, R. J., Classen, C. C., Lanius, R., McNary, S. W., ... & Putnam, F. W. (2012). A survey of practices and recommended treatment interventions among expert therapists treating patients with dissociative identity disorder and dissociative disorder not otherwise specified. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(5), 490.

Chlebowski, S. M., & Gregory, R. J. (2012). Three cases of dissociative identity disorder and co-occurring borderline personality disorder treated with dynamic deconstructive psychotherapy. American journal of psychotherapy, 66(2), 165-180.

Dorahy, M. J., Brand, B. L., ?ar, V., Krüger, C., Stavropoulos, P., Martínez-Taboas, A., ... & Middleton, W. (2014). Dissociative identity disorder: an empirical overview. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48(5), 402-417.

Gentile, J. P., Dillon, K. S., & Gillig, P. M. (2013). Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy for patients with dissociative identity disorder. Innovations in clinical neuroscience, 10(2), 22.

Krakauer, S. Y. (2013). Treating dissociative identity disorder: The power of the collective heart. Routledge.

Markowitsch, H. J., & Staniloiu, A. (2012). Amnesic disorders. The Lancet, 380(9851), 1429-1440.

Paris, J. (2012). The rise and fall of dissociative identity disorder. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 200(12), 1076-1079.

Pulver, A. (2017). M Night Shyamalan announces sequel to Unbreakable and Split in same film. the Guardian. Retrieved 1 November 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/apr/27/m-night-shyamalan-unbreakable-sequel-split

Ross, C. A., Ferrell, L., & Schroeder, E. (2014). Co-occurrence of dissociative identity disorder and borderline personality disorder. Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, 15(1), 79-90.

Staniloiu, A., & Markowitsch, H. J. (2014). Dissociative amnesia. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(3), 226-241.

Www.sidran.org. (2017). The Effects of DID on Children of Trauma Survivors | Sidran.org. Sidran.org. Retrieved 1 November 2017, from https://www.sidran.org/resources/for-survivors-and-loved-ones/the-effects-of-did-on-children-of-trauma-survivors/

Www.youtube.com. (2017). Split Official Trailer 1 (2017) - M. Night Shyamalan Movie. YouTube. Retrieved 1 November 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84TouqfIsiI

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