Possession Experiences in Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Preliminary Study

The Colin A. Ross Institute for Psychological Trauma, Richardson, Texas 75080, USA.
Journal of Trauma & Dissociation (Impact Factor: 1.72). 07/2011; 12(4):393-400. DOI: 10.1080/15299732.2011.573762
Source: PubMed


Dissociative trance disorder, which includes possession experiences, was introduced as a provisional diagnosis requiring further study in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.). Consideration is now being given to including possession experiences within dissociative identity disorder (DID) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.), which is due to be published in 2013. In order to provide empirical data relevant to the relationship between DID and possession states, I analyzed data on the prevalence of trance, possession states, sleepwalking, and paranormal experiences in 3 large samples: patients with DID from North America; psychiatric outpatients from Shanghai, China; and a general population sample from Winnipeg, Canada. Trance, sleepwalking, paranormal, and possession experiences were much more common in the DID patients than in the 2 comparison samples. The study is preliminary and exploratory in nature because the samples were not matched in any way.

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    • "There were high rates of childhood trauma and AEs in these gifted subjects. Since 1989, several other studies have also reported repeated AEs and traumatic experiences in samples of patients diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) (Putnam, 1989; Ross, 1989; Ross et al., 1989) and Dissociative Trance Disorder (DTD) (Ferracuti et al., 1996; Ross, 2011). The most common AEs were contact with spirits and extrasensory perception (ESP) and the most commonly reported traumatic experiences were childhood physical or sexual abuse. "
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated whether people who report recurrent extrasensory perception (ESP) experiences (telepathy, clairvoyance, and precognition) have suffered more traumatic experiences and traumatic intrusions. Thirty-one nonclinical participants reporting recurrent ESP experiences were compared with a nonclinical sample of 31 individuals who did not report recurrent ESP phenomena. Past traumatic experiences were assessed via a self-report measure of trauma history (Childhood Trauma Questionnaire); traumatic intrusions were assessed via a performance-based personality measure (Rorschach Traumatic Content Index). Participants also completed the Anomalous Experience Inventory, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2, the Dissociative Experience Scale, and the Revised Paranormal Belief Scale. The ESP group reported higher levels of emotional abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, physical neglect, and traumatic intrusions. The association between ESP experiences and trauma was partly mediated by the effects of dissociation and emotional distress. Implications for health professionals are discussed. Results also showed the reliability of the twofold method of assessment of trauma.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · The Journal of nervous and mental disease
    • "A jinn's transgression of person's body boundaries is said to entail possession and may be identified as the cause of what biomedically trained physicians regard as epilepsy or paresis (Andermann, 1995). Jinn possession has also been conceptualized as a form of culture-bound dissociation (Ross, 2011; Somer, 2006). "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with an Islamic background who suffer from hallucinations or other psychotic symptoms may attribute these experiences to jinn (i.e., invisible spirits). In this paper, we review the medical literature on jinn as an explanatory model in the context of psychotic disorders. We conducted a systematic search for papers on jinn and psychosis in Pubmed, EMBASE, Ovid Medline, PsycINFO, and Google Scholar databases. Our search yielded 105 scientific texts on jinn and their relationship with mental disorders, including 47 case reports. Among the case reports a definite biomedical diagnosis was provided in 66% of the cases, of which 45.2% involved a schizophrenia spectrum disorder. Fully 10 of 16 hallucinating patients experienced multimodal hallucinations. Although infrequently documented in the biomedical literature, the attribution of psychiatric symptoms to jinn appears to be quite common among Islamic patients, and to have significant impact on the diagnosis, treatment, and course of mental disorders, particularly psychotic disorders.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2015 · Transcultural Psychiatry
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    • "It is noteworthy, however, that the definition of possession trance offered by CardenĂ£ et al. (2009), which includes identity alteration, made movements (a Schneiderian first rank symptom common in DID), and amnesia is similar to dissociative identity disorder (DID) symptoms. Moreover, Ross (2011) showed that trance, sleepwalking, paranormal, and possession experiences were more common among DID patients than in two comparison samples. It has been recently suggested by one research group that PTP be differentiated from similar phenomena that are culturally sanctioned and nondistressing and included under the revised umbrella category of DID in DSM-5 (Spiegel et al., 2011). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study examined the association between exposure to domestic violence and dissociative symptoms. A sample of 68 Israeli opiate use disorder patients in recovery, 80 battered Arab Israeli women, and 103 respondents from a community sample participated in structured interviews that included the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS), the Dissociative Trance Disorder Interview Schedule (DTDIS), and the Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES). As predicted, community participants reported significantly less exposure to traumatizing events and lower levels of dissociative psychopathology than individuals sampled from specialized treatment centers. In all, 91% of battered female participants were taxon-positive for dissociative disorder with 1 of every 2 respondents reporting symptoms corresponding to dissociative amnesia and depersonalization disorder, suggesting that this group may be particularly vulnerable to dissociative psychopathology. Extrasensory and paranormal experiences (ESP) and dissociative trance disorder experiences were strongly related to dissociative experiences and features of dissociative identity disorder (DID). These statistical associations suggest that dissociative disorders and ESP/trance experiences may share an underlying construct. Further research is needed on trauma and dissociation among female victims of domestic abuse in patriarchal, collectivist societies, particularly in the Arab world.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Transcultural Psychiatry
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