The prevalence of mental health problems in the United States might come as a shock to some people. However, it is not unexpected as poor mental health is not exactly a hot topic in the break room, especially movies about borderline personality disorder.
In truth, around 1 in 5 people will struggle with a mental health issue in a given year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and an estimated half of all adults will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in their lifetime, such as depression, PTSD, or borderline personality disorder.
As reported by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), borderline personality disorder (BPD) affects about 1.4 percent of the population, and can be a debilitating and dangerous condition. It is usually marked by a difficulty to regulate emotions.
This kind of intense instability can lead to dangerous behavior choices, a fear of abandonment, and bouts of uncontrollable anger or crippling depression.
Individuals with BPD are also at an increased risk for developing a substance use disorder, such as alcoholism or drug addiction.
Though women are more likely to receive a diagnosis of BPD, research suggests that men suffer from the condition equally. Men, though, are often misdiagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Scientists are not entirely sure what causes the condition, but most healthcare professionals agree that there is a combination of genetics, environmental and neurological factors at play.
Despite the dramatic stigma associated with mental illness or, perhaps, because of it, there has always been a steady appetite for Hollywood films that revolve around characters suffering from psychiatric problems.
Here are 7 Movies About Borderline Personality Disorder
1. Uncut Gems (2019)
A breakout role for Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems is an intense film that tracks his character’s crumbling, chaotic day-to-day to life as Howard Ratner, a jeweler and compulsive gambler living in New York City.
While Ratner’s BPD diagnosis is not a part of the storyline, it is crystal clear from the audience’s perspective that he’s unwell. The film’s portrayal certainly rings true. In real life, many people suffering a gambling addiction struggle to recover because of BPD.
2. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Pat Solatano, played by Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, moves back in with his parents after a stay in a mental health hospital due his struggle with bipolar disorder. The drama starts when Solantano meets and begins a tumultuous romantic relationship with Tiffany Maxwell, played by Jennifer Lawrence.
Lawrence’s portrayal of Tiffany Maxwell, a character that exhibits the telltale signs of BPD, earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
3. Monster (2003)
In the film Monster, Charlize Theron play’s Alileen Wournous, a real life prostitute turned serial killer who murders seven men. The movie, based on Wournous’s life and crimes, highlights her enduring struggle with trauma and mental health.
At Wournous’s trial in January 1992, a psychiatrist for the defense testified that she had been diagnosed with BPD, which is thought to have contributed to the murders she committed.
4. Prozac Nation (2001)
The aptly named film, Prozac Nation, stars Christina Ricci as Elizabeth Wurtzel, a young Harvard Freshman coping with serious mental health issues.
As the character’s story unfolds, her problems with impulse control, fear of abandonment, unstable relationships and a precarious grasp on her identity, along with the substance abuse, are significant indicators she is suffering from BPD.
5. American Psycho (2000)
An intense and somewhat gruesome take on the “decade of greed,” surrounding the 1980s, American Psycho stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a success in the New York City world of finance who’s hiding a double life as a predatory serial killer.
Though the film does not revolve around the issues of mental health, Bale’s character displays many traits of Borderline Personality Disorder, such as disproportionate emotional responses, an unstable self-identity, and uncontrollable anger.
6. Girl, Interrupted (1999)
Credited with launching the acting career of Angelina Jolie, who stars as Lisa Rowe, Girl, Interrupted is set in a 1960s mental health hospital. Winona Ryder’s character, Susana Kaysen, is admitted to the institution for BPD and is heavily influenced by the more extreme behavior of Jolie’s character.
As the story unfolds, Ryder’s character is faced with the choice of either following in the footsteps of her rebellious new friend or taking the opportunity to listen to friends, family and health care workers that want her to get better.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2003)
In the sci-fi romantic comedy/drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Clementine Kruczynski, played by Kate Winslet, and Joel Barish, portrayed by Jim Carrey, go through a turbulent breakup and each decide to have the memories of the other person erased.
Though Winslet’s character is considered whimsical in the film, she struggles with alcohol abuse, difficulty regulating her emotions and impulsivity that’s heavily indicative of borderline personality disorder.
How Can a Borderline Personality Disorder Movie Help?
There are a variety of mental health illnesses that can impact the daily lives of so many people. Some conditions like stress, anxiety, or depression are fairly easy to recognize, understand, and diagnose.
Others aren’t as common and make diagnosing more difficult, but they require seeking the help of a doctor or trained professional for treatment.
BPD doesn’t affect as many people as depression or some of the more common mental health conditions. Hopefully seeing a borderline personality disorder movie will resonate with people so they can recognize the signs and symptoms they might be dealing with in their own life.
Once they realize they have an actual condition, they can speak with a professional about getting the help they deserve.