A Naturalistic Study of Dissociative Identity Disorder and Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified Patients Treated by Community Clinicians

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Abstract

The goals of this naturalistic, cross-sectional study were to describe the patient, therapist, and therapeutic conditions of an international sample of dissociative disorder (DD) patients treated by community therapists and to determine if community treatment for DD appears to be as effective as treatment for chronic PTSD and conditions comorbid with DD. Analyses found that across both patient (N = 280) and therapist (N = 292) reports, patients in the later stages of treatment engaged in fewer self-injurious behaviors, had fewer hospitalizations, and showed higher levels of various measures of adaptive functioning (e.g., GAF) than those in the initial stage of treatment. Additionally, patients in the later stages of treatment reported lower symptoms of dissociation, posttraumatic stress disorder, and distress than patients in the initial stage of treatment. The effect sizes for Stage 5 versus Stage 1 differences in DD treatment were comparable to those published for chronic PTSD associated with childhood trauma and depression comorbid with borderline personality disorder. Given the prevalence, severity, chronicity, and high health care costs associated with DD, these results suggest that extended treatment for DD may be beneficial and merits further research.

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