Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall has gone public in discussing his emotional troubles and his diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Following years of psychological difficulties and unsuccessful past treatments Marshall was diagnosed upon evaluation at McLean Hospital in Boston (the well-known Harvard-affiliated psychiatric facility depicted in the film Girl Interrupted, which starred Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, and Brittany Murphy). Marshall expects to be in ongoing individual and group therapy to treat his emotional difficulties, and he praised the Dolphins for their consideration of his privacy as he has faced his personal troubles.
Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by “poorly regulated and excessive emotional responses; harmful impulsive actions; distorted perceptions and impaired reasoning; and markedly disturbed relationships.” In Marshall’s case, a domestic altercation with his wife drew police and public attention to his emotional troubles. Many mental health professionals believe that this condition is caused by a combination of genetic and psychosocial risk factors, including poor parental nurturing and exposure to physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse in childhood. The behaviors associated with BPD appear to be reactions connected to deep emotional wounds. Those with BPD will appear insecure, desperate for nurturing and validation at times and at other times will push others away. People in relationships with someone exhibiting BPD often describe the experience as like being one of “walking on eggshells,” since people with BPD will tend to be easily upset no matter how much you try to please them.
Common therapeutic interventions for BPD include cognitive therapy and dialectic behavior therapy, as well as group therapy and medications directed at treating symptoms such as depression and impulsivity. However, since these therapies don’t address the root traumas associated with the etiology of BPD the prognosis for this condition is typically not one of optimism for a full recovery. Those with BPD are vulnerable to substance abuse, self-harm, and suicidality. Progressive practitioners are often finding greater success in treating BPD by using alternative and holistic medicine approaches, such as diet, Oriental medicine, energy healing, energy psychology, hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, yoga, and meditation. Healing the deep emotional wounds and distorted beliefs at the subconscious level and connecting with spirituality in a healthy way can be critical to facilitate lasting improvement and recovery from BPD.