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Switching Time : A Doctor 's Harrowing Story Of Treating Essay

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Switching Time: A Doctor’s Harrowing Story of Treating a Woman with Seventeen Personalities Karen Overhill visits Doctor Richard Baer for the first time on January 11, 1989. Behind her lies a lifetime of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse at the hands of those meant to protect her. Though she seeks treatment for severe depression, in the next four years it will become incredibly clear that Karen suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, or Multiple Personality Disorder as it is more commonly known. The rest of her treatment becomes dedicated to uncovering the basis from which her mind has constructed these personalities and reveal the truth hidden in her lost time. Karen suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder, a mental illness characterized by “ a disruption of identity. . . by two or more distinct personalities” “ that alternate control of an individual’s behavior” (Bell, Jacobson, Zeligman, Fox, & Hundley 151). These personalities are often adopted as a sort of coping mechanism to persistent, extreme trauma faced throughout childhood, sexual abuse being the most common. An individual with Dissociative Identity Disorder will experience several “blackout” episodes where time escapes them and they lack any remembrance of where they are or how they got there. This, as is the case for Karen, creates a cycle of panic where she has no clue why she’s in a department store buying a hat for her son when she intended to go grocery shopping (Baer 27). It even goes to
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