Is it Multiple Personality Disorder or Possession?


MPD stands for Multiple Personality Disorder or more recent term DID (Disassociative Identity Disorder). It is a psychological disorder where a person thinks and acts as a totally different person than what the person is.

This disorder is considered by some superstitious(?) people as ‘Possession‘. ‘Possession’ is where a person is supposed to be ‘possessed’ by an external being (ghost). Different communities and cultures have had different ways of dealing with ‘possession’ referred as ‘exorcism‘. The ‘exorcist’ is sometimes able to free the person from the external being.

Symptoms of ‘possession’ usually include
1. The person refers to himself as another person.
2. The person is aware of himself on and off.
3. Shouting, shrieking voice and heavy breathing and stiffness of body.
4. The person becomes very powerful and cannot be controlled easily by one person.
5. Loss of appetite and sometimes request for a particular food item the other personality likes very much.
6. When the external personality departs, the person is usually unconscious and very exhausted.
7. When conscious, the person doesn’t remember anything he did or said before.

The circumstances under which a person can be possessed include –
1. Depression
2. Fever and illness
3. Lack of sleep (Partial sleep)
4. Dreaming
5. Daydreaming
6. Some kinds of meditation practice involving out of body experience

What is common in all the cases is that a person is not conscious of ‘owning’ his body. Random, occasional or mild possession is normal and everyone must have experienced it at some time in their life in anyone of the above cases. These are also the cases when it is more likely for someone to see ghosts.

When we refer to ‘possession’ it is usually when it occurs frequently and the symptoms mentioned are obvious. The person ‘possessed’ in most of the cases are depressed long before the instances of ‘possession’ start to occur. Other cases include illness and recent encounter with ‘ghosts’. ‘Possession’ causes more depression, and depression in turn re-enforces ‘possession’. The cycle becomes stronger and stronger and can lead to death due to weakness, exhaustion and malnourishment. Tendency of suicide and sometimes murder also increases, hence the condition should not be neglected for long.

Coming back to MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder), medical profession doesn’t accept it as ‘possession’ but as a disorder of mind. The treatment usually takes a very long time like most other mental disorders. The logic behind MPD is that the person is depressed and unhappy with current circumstances and his brain assumes another personality to gain sympathy or to counter the situation. The doctors are also able to treat the MPD patients by treating their depression and improving their health.

So, is it MPD or ‘possession’? Medical profession and those believing in ‘possession’ do not agree with each other, when in fact it is both. Does that mean it can be treated by either a psychiatrist or an exorcist? Psychiatric treatment is necessary and should never be neglected. And doctors can cure and improve the condition drastically. Doctors /psychiatrists (and scientists) too must approve and understand ‘exorcism’. ‘Exorcism’, ‘possession’ and ‘ghosts’ must be given better names and studied scientifically. These and many other things are just beyond science and normal human abilities.

Exorcism does not cure ‘possession’ completely, neither can doctors cure MPD completely as the conditions for ‘possession’/MPD exist in everyone. A real cure is lies in fortifying our mind and body through exercise, yoga and meditation. A few effective tools we can list include
1. Breathing exercises (like in yoga and martial arts)
2. Relaxation techniques for body and mind like chanting mantras, observing our breathe or just counting slowly from 1 to 50/100/infinity (counting sheep!).
3. Fortifying our ‘Aura’ with Reiki, chakra meditation, alternate healing and exercise.
4. And of course, laughter is the best medicine.

Our mind is far too weak and should not be left unguarded irrespective of whether we believe in ‘possession’, ‘ghosts’, etc. Mind can matter and we can make both the known and unknown world better by understanding our mind.

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2 thoughts on “Is it Multiple Personality Disorder or Possession?

  1. Pingback: Souls, Ghosts and Medical mysteries – MPD | Mind can Matter

  2. Pingback: Life in Space – India’s first Astrobiology Conference | Mind can Matter

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