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The Differences Between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder

The Differences Between Schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder

A lot of the time, people confuse two uncommon mental disorders: Schizophrenia, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as multiple personality disorder. Other than the fact that many people who have these disorders are stigmatized by society, they both have little in common.

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    Schizophrenia

    Schizophrenia[1] is a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations (seeing and hearing things and people that are not there), delusions, abnormal behavior, and failure to understand what is real and what is not real. It is usually diagnosed in the late teens or early to late 20’s, and has been found to occur more in men than women. Schizophrenic people often find it difficult to live normal lives and conduct normal activities, such as interacting with others or holding down a job; they can also be depressed because they hear voices they do not recognize in their head.

    Schizophrenia is difficult to treat because schizophrenic people have difficulty maintaining the treatment regimen, which usually involves medications and psychotherapy.

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    Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder)

    Dissociative identity disorder (DID),[2] also known as multiple personality disorder, is characterized by two or more distinct identities or personalities that exist within a person. These identities are often formed as a coping mechanism due to traumatic experience(s). Sometimes, a person with DID will lose track of time or will be unable to account for some period of time during their day. This usually occurs when identities or personalities within the individual takes control of them.

    Contrasting the Two

    While trauma is associated with both disorders, the traditional difference is that with schizophrenia, trauma tends to be a consequence of the illness and not causative. Trauma doesn’t make someone have schizophrenia, whereas for almost everyone with DID, it has been found to be a reaction to trauma. Schizophrenia is classified as a psychological disorder, and managed mostly with drugs, whereas DID is considered a developmental disorder that is more responsive to behavioral modifications and psychotherapy.

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    The difference between the two disorders seems clear cut, but psychiatrist Brad Foote of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine warns his peers that it is possible to confuse the two conditions early in the course of treatment.

    Schizophrenic people usually have a more difficult time functioning in society, and have an even harder time with social relationships such as family, work, and friends because of the nature of the disorder. However, if they have strong family and community support, they can do well, and can lead fulfilling, happy, and healthy lives, with rewarding social and family relationships.

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      People with dissociative identity disorder can also often lead successful, “normal” lives, and healthy, happy relationships with others. While, like with schizophrenia they can “hear voices” in their head, the voices are that of different identities or personalities within them. Such personalities or identities may help or allow the person function in life with only momentary disruptions. However, others with DID may have a more difficult time, because the identities continually take over parts of their life, often making them lose track of time.  The struggle of trying to cope with the disorder may cause them to become depressed.

      While both schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder are serious and chronic mental health disorders, the differences between the two disorders are stark. People with schizophrenia hear, see and believe things that aren’t real, and have trouble distinguishing reality from hallucination; they do not have multiple identities or personalities. People with DID do not have delusions or see things that aren’t there; the only voices they hear or talk to are their other personalities or identities.

      Featured photo credit: WiseGeek via wisegeek.org

      Reference

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      Elise Bauer

      Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

      5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

      5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

      Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

      All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

      The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

      “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

      The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

      “The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

      The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

      “The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

      So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

        Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

        1. Build a Memory Palace

          What is it?

          The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

          How to use it?

          Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

          “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

          Example

          An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

          • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
          • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
          • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
          • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
          • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

          You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

          2. Mnemonic

            What is it?

            A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

            How to use it?

            Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

            Example

            I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

            I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

            Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

            Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

            Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

            Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

            C

            J

            H

            D

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            P

            Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

            Cubs

            Just

            Hate

            Doing

            Push-ups

            Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

            3. Mnemonic Peg System

              What is it?

              According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

              How to use it?

              The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

              Example

              Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

              0 = hero

              1 = gun

              2 = shoe

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              3 = tree

              4 = door

              5 = hive

              6 = sticks

              7 = heaven

              8 = gate

              9 = line

              Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

              4. Chunking

                What is it?

                Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

                How to use it?

                In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

                Example

                Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

                Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

                081127882

                Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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                081 – 127 – 882

                Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

                “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

                5. Transfer of Learning

                  What is it?

                  Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

                  “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

                  How to use it?

                  There are two specific ways to use it:

                  1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
                  2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

                  Example

                  I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

                  Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

                  The Bottom Line

                  The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

                  We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

                  Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

                  “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

                  More About Enhancing Memories

                  Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
                  [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
                  [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
                  [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
                  [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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