A note on suicidal deterioration with recovered memory treatment

J Affect Disord. 2000 May;58(2):155-9. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0327(98)00193-1.


Background: Many patients who have been told they have Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder (MPD/DID) seem to have deteriorated clinically after being so diagnosed. We report here the results of a survey of suicide attempts in patients diagnosed as having MPD and a comparison group hospitalized with a mood disorder.

Methods: Twenty individuals who had been diagnosed as having MPD, had developed false memories, and had relinquished them, were surveyed with respect to suicide attempts before and after the diagnosis. Twelve of those approached agreed to provide data and were compared with 12 patients from an in-patient mood disorders unit, matched for age and sex.

Results: In the MPD group more patients attempted suicide after being diagnosed than before and they made more separate attempts at suicide than before. The reverse was true in the comparison group with patients and suicide attempts before and after hospitalization. Comparing the numbers of attempts in the groups before diagnosis/hospitalization and afterward Chi(2)=20.177, DF=1, P<0.001.

Limitations and conclusions: Both samples were highly selected, and the comparison group does not provide an exact control. Nevertheless, the results support a trend in the literature that finds the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder and the use of recovered memory treatment are harmful.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Bipolar Disorder / therapy
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / therapy
  • Dissociative Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Dissociative Disorders / psychology
  • Dissociative Disorders / therapy
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder / diagnosis*
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder / psychology
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Recall
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychotherapy*
  • Repression, Psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology*