Miami Dolphins Player Reveals Struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder

Brandon Marshall, wide receiver for the Miami Dolphins, recently announced that he suffers from a condition known as borderline personality disorder, or BPD. The disorder has affected him over the past five years, according to an article in SB Nation.

Borderline personality disorder is more common than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, but not as well-known. BPD affects as many as 2 percent of adults but is usually diagnosed during adolescence. The condition is believed to be caused by a series of stressful or traumatic events that occurred in childhood development through adulthood. Marshall believes his disorder began after his rookie season five years ago.

Characteristics of BPD include noticeable instability in mood, functioning and interpersonal relationships. The person’s sense of reality may be unstable, with abrupt mood swings and black-or-white thinking.

People with bipolar disorder or depression usually have the same mood for weeks but a person with BPD may have intense fits of anger, anxiety or depression that last only a few hours or at worst 24 hours. Sometimes episodes may be associated with aggression, alcohol or drug abuse and self-injury, the latter affecting about 70-75 percent of victims. The suicide rate for BPD patients is 9 percent, as they often view themselves as worthless or bad people.

Treatment for patients with borderline personality disorder typically includes intensive behavior therapy. Marshall began treatment in Belmont, MA, at McLean Hospital this past summer after taking the advice of Ricky Williams, a former teammate.

Another kind of treatment, known as DBT, or Dialectic Behavior Therapy, teaches patients four different skills. The specific skills taught to BPD patients are mindfulness, distress tolerance without impulse reaction, regulation of emotions and interpersonal effectiveness. Hopefully DBT will be as effective with Marshall as it has been with other patients who suffer from borderline personality disorder.

There is still hope.

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