Story at a glance
- The “90210” actress revealed her diagnosis in a blog post earlier in April.
- Dissociative identity disorder is characterized by the existence of and alternating between two or more personalities or identities.
- Formerly known as multiple personality disorder, it’s associated with traumatic experiences and childhood abuse in 90 percent of cases.
Actress AnnaLynne McCord discussed her previous mental health struggles and dissociative identity disorder diagnosis on "Good Morning America" on Friday.
“I wanted to die for so much of my life, I didn’t want to be here,” McCord said. “And now I wake up every day and I say thank you I’m alive again.”
McCord first revealed her diagnosis in a blog post for Daniel Amen’s site Amen Clinics.
Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is typically characterized by the existence of and alternating between two or more personalities or identities, often causing gaps in memory. According to the American Psychiatric Association, it’s usually associated with or spawned by traumatic experiences and abuse in childhood in 90 percent of cases.
McCord, who identified herself as a survivor of sexual abuse, said she struggled with the disorder for years, but it wasn’t until she filmed a scene in “90210” in which her character Naomi was raped that she truly realized she needed to seek help.
“My whole body like just went into panic mode as if I was living out my life on camera,” the 33-year-old actress said. “These moments were coming to light through my work. I didn’t understand anything about the mind or the brain at the time, I was just trying to do my job and I couldn’t. And it was very scary …. I found a way out.”
McCord ultimately sought treatment to help her process the trauma and manage symptoms.
Dissociative identity disorder is rare, only affecting about 2 percent of the U.S. population. The differing identities can display different attitudes and preferences and often shift involuntarily when in distress.
Psychotherapy is often used to help patients gain a better understanding and get a handle on triggers and symptoms and process trauma. While there is no medicinal treatment for the disorder at this time, medications can be used to treat additional related disorders or symptoms a patient may have.
The diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder is controversial, with some in the field arguing over its existence; however, it does remain as an officially recognized disorder in psychiatry.
"The way this is talked about is there's so much shame. I am absolutely uninterested in shame," McCord said in the blog post. "There is nothing about my journey that I invite shame into anymore."
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