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Insider Exclusive: What Is Borderline Personality Disorder ... And Could Casey Anthony Have It?

Casey Anthony

(AP)

In what seems to be a recent trend, a string of news, sports and entertainment personalities are opening up about living with borderline personality disorder ... including NFL star Brandon Marshall. The disorder, which until present hasn't seen much media attention, is also being theorized by some psychology experts to afflict Casey Anthony.



For many unfamiliar with BPD, the influx of conversations is giving a new face to the disorder and bringing to light what it really means. The Insider caught up with the Medical A-Team's Dr. Keith Ablow for his expert insight on the characteristics that define BPD, who has it ... and who doesn't.


Ablow says personality disorders in general are characterized by perverted ways in which people interact with others and the world around them, which are often counterproductive and able to cause real disability and chaos in the lives of others. Specifically, one of the hallmarks of borderline personality disorder involves the fear of abandonment.


"They'll often try to manipulate others and keep them close. They tend to, what’s called, split – meaning they’ll attempt to cause conflict between two people in order to be close to both of them, or at least be involved in the drama," Ablow says.


Similarly, people with BPD also tend to fluctuate between undervaluing and overvaluing those around them.


"Patients will have very strong positive feelings about people and very strong negatives," Ablow says, the switches between the two often being triggered by "perceived slights" or the feeling that someone is withdrawing from them.


The nation watched and wondered about potential psychiatric disorders from which Casey Anthony could suffer as her trial moved forward, many stressing a belief that she needed mental health help. Dr. Ablow is among them, and while he can't offer a diagnosis since he's never personally examined Anthony, he says that when it comes to speculation of BPD, other professionals offering such theories are most likely noting the highs and lows of mood Anthony displays and the intensity with which she engages with one man after the other.


Still, Ablow says that at present, the descriptions given of her throughout the trial and extensive police and family interrogations aren’t typical of someone living with borderline personality disorder.


"The hallmark of that disorder isn’t fabricating stories. [People with BPD] do not necessarily steal," he says. They would, however, generally have a string of people around them that would say that they caused conflict in their lives. "Much to the contrary, [people] say she was very compliant and non-confrontational, that she was very much interested in their well-being," Ablow says.


"There's a whole spectrum of personality disorders, and many of them [have characteristics] that run into each other," he says, "so if she has a personality disorder, it’s most likely that it has elements of more than one."


Others have also noted indicators of antisocial personality disorder in Anthony, which characteristics like lying, stealing, a lack of feeling guilt and remorse, and a willingness to commit crimes. "No doubt there are mental health professionals who are convinced she has this," Ablow says, "but the real point here is that the way she’s relating to others shows that she is not grounded in a sense of self."


For more medical insight from Dr. Keith Ablow, click here.

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