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Bipolar and Multiple Personality Disorder: Understanding and Breaking Stigmas


Bipolar disorder has gained widespread attention in discussions surrounding mental health, often linked to creativity and charisma, likely influenced by the openness of celebrities and artists sharing their experiences. In contrast, multiple personality disorder faces a persistent cloud of ignorance and confusion, emphasizing the crucial need for increased education and dialogue about both disorders. To learn more about bipolar vs. multiple personality disorder, enhancing public awareness, understanding, and compassion is essential to breaking down misconceptions surrounding these mental health conditions.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness (MDI), is a brain condition that leads to unusual changes in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to do daily tasks. There are technically four basic types of bipolar affective disorder, but they all involve shifts in mood, energy, and activity. These changes are noticeable because they include three types of behavior called episodes:

  • Manic episodes: Times when a person shows extremely happy and energetic behavior. These moments can be severe enough to make it hard to do work, be social, learn, or handle important tasks. The symptoms can’t be due to using substances like alcohol, drugs, or medications, and they shouldn’t be caused by a general medical condition.
  • Depressive episodes: Periods of deep sadness or hopelessness marked by depression and a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities. This mood change must be different from the person’s usual mood, and it should negatively affect their social, work, educational, or other important functions.
  • Hypomanic episodes: Less intense periods of elevated mood that don’t cause problems in social or work functioning.

Common personality traits in people with bipolar disorder

Studies suggest that certain personality traits might be more frequently observed in individuals with bipolar disorder. Various research indicates that there are eight personality traits that could be commonly found in individuals diagnosed with bipolar disorder:

  • Creativity
  • Empathy
  • Realism
  • Resilience
  • Spirituality
  • Neuroticism
  • Disinhibition
  • Aggressiveness

These traits encompass a mix of positive characteristics, enhancing a person’s overall well-being and their potential contributions to society.

What is multiple personality disorder?

Multiple personality disorder, clinically known as dissociative identity disorder (DID), is a serious condition where an individual has two or more distinct personalities that take turns controlling them. This disorder also involves extensive memory loss beyond ordinary forgetfulness. DID is marked by a fragmented identity and a failure to merge various aspects of identity, memory, and consciousness into a unified self.

Each personality, or “alter,” may feel like it has its own unique history, self-image, and identity when in control. The characteristics of these alters differ from the primary identity, and specific circumstances or stressors can trigger the emergence of a particular alter. The various identities may not acknowledge each other, criticize one another, or even openly conflict with each other.

Common personality traits in people with DID

The indicators of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) can vary, but they involve a transition between two or more distinct personalities.

Common symptoms encompass:

  • Experiencing two or more distinct personalities, each with its own self-identity and perspectives.
  • Noticeable changes in a person’s sense of self.
  • Regular gaps in memory and personal history are not attributable to typical forgetfulness, including the loss of memories and forgetting everyday events.

When these alternate personalities take control, they often communicate using different vocabulary and gestures. Additionally, in some instances, one personality may adopt specific habits that the others do not, such as smoking or displaying violent tendencies.

When shifting from one personality to another, individuals may encounter additional symptoms unique to their experience. Anxiety can surface as a common reaction, stemming from the fear associated with the personality change. Some may exhibit heightened anger or violence during these transitions, while others may remain oblivious or unable to recall the shifts, even though someone else may notice.

Specific personalities might emerge in response to particular situations, causing considerable distress and disrupting the individual’s ability to lead a normal life.

Additional symptoms may involve:

  • Amnesia
  • Loss of sense of time
  • Entering a trance-like state
  • Experiencing out-of-body episodes or depersonalization
  • Engaging in behaviors unusual for the person
  • Disturbances in sleep patterns

Individuals with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) may also grapple with symptoms associated with other conditions, such as self-harm. Notably, a study suggests that over 70% of individuals with DID have made suicide attempts.

Bipolar vs. Multiple Personality Disorder: How are they different?

While these disorders have distinct definitions and symptoms, a bipolar person has multiple personalities. Additionally, society often confuses them, along with schizophrenia. This confusion may stem from the widespread use of these terms in popular media and as shorthand for individuals dealing with mental health challenges. Despite the public mix-up, the primary shared aspect among these disorders is the unfortunate stigma faced by those who experience them. The distinction between dissociative identity disorder and bipolar disorder appears in various ways.


  • Bipolar disorder doesn’t mess with who you are. Multiple personality disorder, on the other hand, creates problems with who you think you are, splitting it into different identities.
  • In bipolar disorder, there are ups and downs, with depression being one of the low points. People with multiple personality disorders usually start without feeling sad, and they have normal energy levels. But sometimes, they can get really sad for a long time. This sadness comes from struggling to deal with the main issue, not from the disorder itself, like in bipolar disorder.
  • More guys get diagnosed with bipolar disorder, while more girls get diagnosed with multiple personality disorders. Girls with this disorder often have more “personalities” than guys with the same diagnosis.
  • Bipolar disorder doesn’t stop you from being creative or concentrating. In fact, it’s pretty common among artists. On the flip side, not many artists get diagnosed with multiple personality disorder because it messes up their focus and creativity by breaking their core identity.

Navigating Bipolar and DID Disorders for Awareness

Let’s shatter the stigma surrounding bipolar and multiple personality disorders. It’s crucial to educate ourselves and others, fostering understanding and compassion for those facing these challenges. Share this knowledge, promote open dialogue, and support initiatives that enhance public awareness of mental health. Together, we can break down misconceptions, encourage empathy, and build a more compassionate society for those navigating the complexities of these disorders.


  • Diane Silva

    Diane is a travel enthusiast, content creator, and master storyteller, capturing her adventures through captivating blogs and engaging vlogs. With a passion for the great outdoors and a love for literature, she brings a unique perspective to the travel world. Whether she's exploring hidden gems or discussing the latest trends, Diane is your go-to source for all things travel and beyond.