Diagnoses matter because they determine the path of treatment for what ails you. Ultimately, though, they are only labels … particular labels for particular sets of symptoms. So when we talk about the differences between Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS) we’re talking about symptoms. It gets confusing because:
- These are both complex dissociative disorders. Overlapping symptoms isn’t unusual with a variety of mental illnesses but with these two it’s nothing but overlap. Discerning the differences between DID and a thought disorder like Schizophrenia, for instance, is easier.
- The latter is an NOS disorder. In other words, DDNOS is the diagnosis given when a patient meets some, but not all of the diagnostic criteria for a DID diagnosis.
Sometimes people get so confused by and caught up in the line between these two diagnoses that they throw up their hands and declare that it just doesn’t matter. And depending on your reasons for trying to pin down that line, it might not. Frankly, there are some very good arguments for doing away with both diagnoses and grouping them together under the label Complex Dissociative Disorder, or just calling them both Dissociative Identity Disorder. After all, this is a spectrum we’re talking about here.
Still, as of right now these two diagnoses exist (in the United States) and there are some differences between the two. So let’s talk about them, shall we?
I like to break topics down into bite sized pieces so we’ll start with the obvious: dissociative symptoms. Then we’ll talk about how the symptoms differ, and a couple of the tools clinicians use to determine a dissociative diagnosis. I’ll throw in a DCMS Bookshelf pick that focuses on DID/DDNOS symptoms and tell you about a blogger with a talent for discussing pathology and recovery without harping on diagnoses. Comment today and you’ll get all of that for three installments of just $19.95!
For real though, it’ll be fun.