Brandon Marshall, the Miami Dolphins receiver, today announced that he suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The mental illness affects 2 percent of the adult population and is less well known than other disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It is characterized by mood swings, unstable self image, troubled relationships and fears of abandonment.
BPD diagnoses are overwhelmingly more common among women. Nearly 75 percent all BPD diagnoses are made in women. There is speculation that both Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana suffered from BPD.
The mental illness -- which may arise from childhood issues of abandonment, trauma and sexual abuse -- is also characterized by a high incidence of self harm and suicide. Nearly 80 percent of those diagnosed with BPD report having suicidal tendencies. Other typical symptoms include disproportionate anger, impulsive sex, periods of alcoholism and binge eating. BPD often occurs in conjunction with other mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.
Perhaps the biggest issues for those suffering from BPD are low self image and constantly shifting relationships. People with BPD quickly swing from idealizing a loved one to hating them over a perceived slight.
BPD is usually treatable although it often goes undiagnosed or gets mistaken for another mental illness, most typically bipolar disorder. Treatment includes talk therapy, dialectical behavior therapy and occasional medication.