Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker reveals life quietly battling the effects of multiple personality disorder

Psychiatric Community Debates NFL Star’s Revelation of Multiple Personality (read Nightline report )

Dr. Silberg’s response

Herschel Walker, a former football player and the 1982 Heisman trophy winner, recently revealed has spent his life quietly battling the effects of multiple personality disorder. The disorder, now known as disorder dissociative identity disorder (DID), is often the result of severe childhood trauma — most commonly in the form of repetitive childhood physical and/or sexual abuse. Walker details his personal struggle in an upcoming book “Breaking Free,” which is scheduled to be released by Simon & Schuster next August.

Dr. Joyanna Silberg, Executive Vice President of the Leadership Council and a nationally recognized expert on dissociative disorders in children, hopes that the book will help break down many of the myths that surround the condition. Dr. Silberg says that while most people believe that the condition is rare; studies show that it affects 2-3% of the population.

Dr. Silberg notes that most people’s exposure to the condition has been through watching movies, where people with the condition are portrayed as highly impaired; and men with the condition are often portrayed as diabolical criminals. Because of these myths, most people who suffer from the disorder keep their disorder a secret and lead what appear to be otherwise normal lives.

Dr. Silberg emphasizes that those with DID can get help and that treatment can be highly effective. When they receive appropriate help, most people with DID function fairly well, often in highly placed professional positions. More information about treatment is available from Sidran and The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) websites.