Alter Egos by David Cohen

People have always been fascinated by the psychological phenomenon of multiple personalities. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, however, is no longer confined to the realms of fiction but is typical of many patients seen by psychiatrists today, for the condition seems to be on the increase and what was once a rarity is now part of everyday life.

More and more cases are being reported, and those who suffer from it seem to have more personalities than ever before: a man in Arizona claims to have twenty-eight and some psychiatrists have reported cases with literally hundreds of alter egos.

But although the split or fragmented personality has been of perennial fascination, its causes are uncertain. Is multiple personality disorder the result of childhood abuse? Indeed does it exist at all, or are psychiatrists allowing themselves to be fooled by clever exhibitionists?

Using case histories such as the dramatic true story behind the Hollywood blockbuster The Three Faces of Eve as well as drawing on the latest neurological and psychiatric research, the author looks at the history of multiple personality disorder, at the people who suffer from it, at its effect on their families and friends and at how doctors try to treat it. He also examines the debates which surround the disorder. 

Authoritative and compelling, Alter Egos was the first full-length study of this dramatic and frightening condition and is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in the 1990s.


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