The truth behind (arguably) the most misunderstood mental illness of our time
Despite being more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder combined, borderline personality disorder remains one of the least understood and most stigmatized mental illnesses.
It’s so misunderstood and stigmatized, in fact, that the press release I received on the subject — which prompted me to write this story — stated, “A topical subject, BPD is featured in the … Sandy Hook school shooting.” The clearly confused PR agency was suggesting that the alleged Sandy Hook shooter, Adam Lanza, suffered from BPD, when, in actuality, there’s never been any reports of him having the condition.
Ryan Lanza, his brother, told ABC News that Adam was autistic, or had Asperger syndrome and “a personality disorder.” There are 10 personality disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, ranging from obsessive-compulsive disorder to narcissistic personality disorder. Ignorant statements like the one made in the press release are part of the reason why society hears “borderline personality disorder” and thinks “violent.” (For the record, people with BPD are no more violent than the general population.)