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The Newest Face of Borderline Personality Disorder: Anakin Skywalker?

By June 7, 2010

At first I thought the title of an upcoming editorial to be published in the journal Psychiatry Research was a joke: "Is Anakin Skywalker Suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder?" But Dr. Eric Bui and his colleagues at Toulouse University Hospital in France are not kidding around; they propose that Anakin Skywalker (from the Star Wars movies; this is the guy who becomes Darth Vader) demonstrates six of the nine diagnostic criteria for BPD. They cite his difficulties with anger, impulsive behavior, apparent dissociation, and identity difficulties as examples.

Dr. Bui and his colleagues also suggest that the popularity of the Star Wars movies may be in part due to the ability of teenagers to relate to Anakin (since there is evidence that adolescents have BPD symptoms more frequently than adults). They also suggest that Anakin's diagnosis may be one way to educate the public about BPD. But, I'm not so sure that having BPD associated with Darth Vader is very helpful to anyone!

June 9, 2010 at 10:32 am
(1) JOHN KAGLE says:

Very interesting. I can actually see the truth in this thought. Great Blog!!

June 9, 2010 at 5:15 pm
(2) pepperstorm says:

I agree that using anakin skywalker/darth vader as a way to educate about BPD is not a good idea , it might make people get the wrong idea about BPD

June 14, 2010 at 3:10 pm
(3) Beck says:

I don’t see a problem relating BPD to Darth Vader. He finds redemption. and that’s good. Why should we be ashamed to say BPD causes lots of pain and suffering for all involved including “Anakin”? We can love Anakin while hating the actions of DV, yes?

June 18, 2010 at 5:34 am
(4) Peter says:

It’s early in the day so I’m a little sleepy still. However, I do see similarities.
Major difference is Darth Vader’s life is tragic, but someone’s with BPD doesn’t have to be.
Also agree with the teenage thing. Have great day.

June 26, 2010 at 12:21 am
(5) Randi Kreger says:

I recently wrote a long post about this topic on my blog at Psychology Today. I referenced the BPD About.com blog twice. It looks at the topic in detail.


July 1, 2010 at 7:55 am
(6) paranoid personality disorder says:

Hey Really very nice post. this article is very helpful….thanks for sharing….

July 27, 2010 at 12:28 am
(7) Eddi says:

You wrote:

“But, I’m not so sure that having BPD associated with Darth Vader is very helpful to anyone!”

Well, if you take a look at the whole story and not just at the last three parts (which where indeed the first three movies) and at how Anakin Skywalker became Darth Vader, this might very well be helpful. As the scientists said, especially young people might feel related to Anakin due to his problems. This might help them understand themselves better by analyzing the behaviour of Anakin. And this might indeed be helpful.

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