home
RSS
April 15th, 2008
12:10 PM ET

Herschel Walker's alter personalities

By Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Chief Medical Correspondent

When I first heard that former football great Herschel Walker had multiple personality disorder, I was pretty stunned. Even though, I am a doctor, I had to admit that I knew very little about this particular psychiatric disorder. For starters, it is called DID, or dissociative identity disorder, instead of multiple personality disorder. Most people think of Sally Field's character Sybil, but another thing I learned is neither Sybil nor Walker actually has multiple personalities, but rather the lack of one cohesive personality. In Walker's case, he has 12 – yes 12 – alter personalities, which are all better described as fragments of one. (Here is an article I thought was very informative: http://www.dana.org/news/cerebrum/detail.aspx?id=11122)

Herschel Walker

Herschel Walker

Sitting down with Walker, I met an extremely charismatic and likeable man who certainly didn't overtly flip from one alter to the next. It became clear, though, throughout our conversation that these alters were just under the surface. From stories of playing Russian roulette while still an extremely successful football star to rapidly switching from one alter to the next with absolutely no recollection, it was mind boggling, confusing, and a little bizarre. Again, unlike uncontrolled rage or depression, Walker really could not remember from one alter to the next. He even had names for his alters. The one that showed up on the football field was the General, and he was a competitive killer.

Because of the lack of memory of these various alters, we found it important to speak with people who witnessed this firsthand.  So, we flew to Dallas and met with his former wife, Cindy.  She described many incidents, including a chilling one of waking up with a straight razor to her neck and Herschel threatening to slit her throat - and then having Herschel quickly flipping and asking her if she was OK.  She saw that flipping back and forth and it scared her – eventually leading to their divorce.

Medically, I was fascinated to learn that DID is much more common than people realize – about 1 percent of the population has the disorder. It is often associated with psychological and physical abuse as a child; in fact it is a childhood disorder that is often diagnosed as an adult. The child starts to separate his or her personality into fragments in order to deal with different aspects of life.  By adulthood, these fragments become full-fledged alters. Herschel himself admitted he was bullied a lot as a child, because he was overweight and stuttered.

In Walker's case, sometimes the alter personalities worked for him as the General did on the football field, but most of the times they were destructive. He is getting help nowadays, but there is no specific medication that can be prescribed. Instead, he goes through counseling to sort of teach his alters to know one another and become one cohesive personality. While he seemed to have things in control as we talked for a long time and even threw the football around, the alters are still very much there.

As I said, I found the story of Herschel Walker to be absolutely fascinating.  And I wondered how many more stories like his are out there.  Have you ever seen or heard anything like this?

Programming note: Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's interview with Herschel Walker and report on dissociative identity disorder on Anderson Cooper 360 tonight at 10 ET.

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation. 


Next entry »
« Previous entry
soundoff (901 Responses)
  1. AC Repair Warrenton VA

    Fairly high-quality explanation. continue the good work

    https://www.scoop.it/topic/services-from-an-air-conditioning-repair-shop/p/4124776738/2021/05/13/avant-d-acceder-a-google-maps

    May 30, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Roofing Hainesport

    Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.

    https://roofinghainesport.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/what-is-the-difference-between-commercial-and-residential-roofing/

    May 30, 2021 at 05:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rekey Palo Alto

    such a great information for blogger i am a professional blogger thanks

    https://locksmithpaloalto223326104.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/different-kinds-of-locksmith-services/

    May 30, 2021 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Emergency Locksmith Las Vegas

    Your writing style has been surprised me. Thank you, quite great article.

    https://locksmithhenderson.blogspot.com/2021/05/choosing-emergency-locksmith.html

    May 30, 2021 at 05:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Federated Financial

    I really like this post. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://diigo.com/0ko3p9

    May 30, 2021 at 06:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Peterbilt Truck Repair

    I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your content. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I will bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.

    https://analytics.bluekai.com/site/16231?phint=event=click&phint=campaign=BRAND-TAB&phint=platform=search&done=http://fleetvehiclerepairshop.com/isuzu-truck-repair-shop-near-me/

    May 30, 2021 at 06:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. bb gun accessories

    Thank you for this post. Good luck. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://airgunstoretx.blogspot.com/2021/05/how-to-choose-best-air-gun-for-you.html

    May 30, 2021 at 06:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. AC company

    Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://acrepairfayettevillennorthc.tumblr.com/post/652312378733740032/air-conditioning-repair-services

    May 30, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AC Repair in Miami, FL

    Great article. Couldn’t be write much better! Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://acrepairinmiamifl.blogspot.com/2021/05/avoid-getting-tricked-into-unnecessary.html

    May 30, 2021 at 07:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Professional HVAC services

    this is very informative and intersting for those who are interested in blogging field. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629

    https://hvaccontractorellicottcity.wordpress.com/2021/05/26/essential-facts-to-be-considered-before-selecting-a-hvac-contractor/

    May 30, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. xem bong da hom nay

    Trái Soccertrực tiếp mu ĐT nước Việt Nam kế tiếp chứng tỏ sự vượt lên trên trội trước các đàn em U22 nước ta cùng với 2 thắng lợi trong 2 trận đấu nội cỗ. Tin TứcBIDV Quang Trung và hành trình đoạt được giấc mơ còn dang dởSau một mùa giải đầy tiếc nuối, Ngân mặt hàng Đầu tư và Phát triển Quang Trung trở lại Giải hạng Nhì – Cúp VietFootball 2021 với quyết tâm giành tấm vé thăng hạng. Rất nhiều đội bóng tấn công h mong muốn có sự đáp ứng

    https://www.thedolive.cc/

    May 30, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. thedo

    Quả đá Bóngthedo ĐT Việt Nam kế tiếp triệu chứng tỏ sự vượt trội trước các đàn em U22 Việt Nam với 2 thắng lợi trong 2 trận đấu nội bộ. Tin TứcBIDV Quang Trung và chặng đường đoạt được niềm mơ ước còn dang dởSau một mùa giải đầy tiếc nuối, Ngân Hàng BIDV Quang Trung trở lại Giải hạng Nhì – Cúp VietFootball 2021 với quyết tâm giành tấm vé thăng hạng. Rất nhiều ĐộI bóng đánh tiếng muốn có sự phục vụ

    https://www.thedolive.tv/

    May 30, 2021 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Google Marketing Services

    https://portal.estrechy.cz/redir.php?url=marketingpostfalls.com/

    May 30, 2021 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Social Media Marketing Firms Near Me

    Howdy! This post couldnít be written any better! Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept talking about this. I am going to send this post to him. Fairly certain he's going to have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    https://mobilize.org.br/handlers/anuncioshandler.aspx?anuncio=55&canal=2&redirect=https://internetmarketingidaho.com/

    May 31, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Social Media Marketing Experts

    Pretty! This was a really wonderful post. Thanks for supplying this info.

    https://historyhub.history.gov/external-link.jspa?url=https://postfallsvideographer.com

    May 31, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Van Repair Shop

    http://go.isclix.com/deep_link/4694673464837045969?url=http://fleetservicesorangecounty.com/sprinter-van-wrap-shop-near-me

    May 31, 2021 at 04:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 2003 Sprinter Ac Repair

    Saved as a favorite, I really like your site!

    http://guodu.h5uc.com/h5.php?url=https://sprintervanrepairnearme.com

    May 31, 2021 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Conversion Van Screen Repair

    http://pcinhk.com/discuz/uchome/link.php?url=http://sprinterrepairnearme.com

    May 31, 2021 at 05:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Sprinter V6 Return Line Repair

    I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

    https://sweetcotton.com/osanpo/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=1154&url=https://sprintervanrepairnearme.com/

    May 31, 2021 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Service Repair Near Me

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Many thanks for providing this information.

    https://publishing.brookes.ac.uk/?URL=ocrvmotorsports.usholostyak-stb-2021

    May 31, 2021 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Body Damage Shop

    http://journal.ashspublications.org/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=sprintervanrepairshop.com/sprinter-van-body-shop-near-me

    May 31, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mercedes Sprinter Van Service Near Me

    https://www.knipsclub.de/weiterleitung/?url=https://sprinterrepairnearme.com/

    June 1, 2021 at 04:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Sprinter Van Seat Fabric Repair

    I needed to thank you for this good read!! I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

    http://aurora.network/redirect?url=https://sprinterrepairnearme.com

    June 1, 2021 at 09:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Rv Dent Repair

    https://img.2chan.net/bin/jump.php?http://ingenieurleistungenreiter.com/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=760&limitstart=65180

    June 1, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Mathew Zechiel

    You should take part in a contest for one of the greatest websites on the net. I will recommend this web site!

    http://dol.deliver.ifeng.com/c?z=ifeng&la=0&si=2&cg=1&c=1&ci=2&or=7549&l=28704&bg=28703&b=37275&u=https://edwiny50v3.therainblog.com/4297201/digital-marketing-agency-things-to-know-before-you-buy

    June 1, 2021 at 19:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bradly Swezey

    https://go.onelink.me/v1xd?pid=Patch&c=Mobile20Footer&af_web_dp=http://keegane71w3.actoblog.com/5226193/entrepreneurial-coaching-can-be-fun-for-anyone

    June 1, 2021 at 19:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Van Frame Repair

    http://love.okchatroom.com/lovelove/link.php?url=https://truewater.com/get-more-retweets-with-these-twitter-tactics/

    June 1, 2021 at 22:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. mobile camper repair near me

    You should take part in a contest for one of the finest websites on the internet. I'm going to recommend this website!

    https://click.alamode.com/?adcode=CPEMAQM0913_1&url=http://bonus-books.com/yoga-therapy/

    June 2, 2021 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Radon

    Interesting stuff to read. Keep it up.

    https://www.google.com/maps?cid=13336008336015345972

    June 2, 2021 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Caryn Gilling

    http://redirects.tradedoubler.com/utm/td_redirect.php?td_keep_old_utm_value=1&url=https://arthurt14y2.yomoblog.com/5845436/about-metal-roof-repair-near-me

    June 2, 2021 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Leisure Travel Van Repair

    I’m impressed, I have to admit. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both equally educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few people are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

    /

    June 2, 2021 at 05:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Yelena Vielma

    https://reddit.app.link/?channel=mweb_branch&feature=xpromo&campaign=xpromo&$og_redirect=https://landenx25b3.blogrenanda.com/5622318/considerations-to-know-about-van-repair-shop

    June 2, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv rentals california orange county

    Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

    https://www.marcellusmatters.psu.edu/?URL=ideguinsight.com/?p=46

    June 2, 2021 at 23:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. rv shower upgrade

    Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always helpful to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from their web sites.

    http://www.galter.northwestern.edu/exit?url=http://www.ingenieurleistungenreiter.de/index.php?option=com_phocaguestbook&view=phocaguestbook&id=1&Itemid=4&t=2900?&limitstart=66120

    June 3, 2021 at 01:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Thomas Cieloha

    Hello, There's no doubt that your blog might be having internet browser compatibility issues. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, fantastic blog!

    http://etracker.de/lnkcnt.php?et=mjVFaK&url=https://garrettu14y2.bcbloggers.com/4328904/what-exactly-is-everyday-living-coaching-and-why-life-coaching-could-be-in-your-case

    June 3, 2021 at 02:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Digital Marketing Near Me

    Iím impressed, I have to admit. Rarely do I come across a blog thatís equally educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough folks are speaking intelligently about. Now i'm very happy I stumbled across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

    http://www.syuriya.com/ys4/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=415&url=https://online-website-marketing.com

    June 3, 2021 at 05:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Wheelchair Van Repair Near Me

    Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It's always helpful to read through articles from other writers and use a little something from their sites.

    http://hammer.x0.to/cgi/search/rank.cgi?mode=link&id=6289&url=commercialvanrepairshop.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. rv plumbing repair near me

    http://fishingheaven.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=orangecountyrvrepair.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 07:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. riverside collision provo

    http://dusthillhousemusicinc.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=www.ocrvmotorcoaches.com/

    June 3, 2021 at 08:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Awning Orange County

    Aw, this was a really good post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

    http://www.strangepeople.com/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=oc-rv.com

    June 3, 2021 at 10:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. oc trailers

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.

    https://www.scratchapixel.com/code.php?id=8&origin=http://ocrvmotorsports.us/&src=0

    June 3, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Fabrication Near Me

    I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to take a note of your site and keep checking for new details about once per week. I opted in for your RSS feed too.

    http://www.kingranchsaddle.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrv.mobi/

    June 3, 2021 at 13:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv inspection service near me

    This blog was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thank you!

    http://urm.org/n/november-splash/?redirect_to=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27bY06gvk0o

    June 3, 2021 at 18:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. class c renovation

    The next time I read a blog, Hopefully it does not disappoint me as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely thought you'd have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something you can fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

    https://www.dartn.de/redirect/?url=https://youtube.com/watch?v=rvwiyMN7slg/

    June 3, 2021 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. oc appliance man

    https://ams.ceu.edu/optimal/optimal.php?url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVBixSdvMtM

    June 3, 2021 at 19:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Repair Cost On Mercedes Sprinter Van

    An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast due to the fact that I discovered it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this matter here on your web site.

    http://historisches-festmahl.de/go.php?url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pP9ZQx-_atI

    June 3, 2021 at 20:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. car sound system repair near me

    https://www.imp.mx/salto.php?va=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeOFkeWabMo

    June 3, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. rv repair materials

    http://www.lindenconstruction.biz/__media__/js/netsoltrademark.php?d=ocrvmotorsports.net

    June 4, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. storage near me

    http://geowww.agrocampus-ouest.fr/portails/portail.php?portail=mh&mode=url&url=https://wholesalenearme.com/

    June 4, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. travel trailer frame repair

    https://www.slack-redir.net/link?url=https://www.ocrv.life/rv-repair-shop-pasadena-california

    June 4, 2021 at 05:08 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
« Previous entry
Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.