Borderline personality disorder blamed for Brandon Marshall's troubles

What's borderline personality disorder? That question has been on a lot of people's minds ever since Miami Dolphins star Brandon Marshall announced that he had the disorder. "I'll be the face of BPD," Marshall told the Florida Sun Sentinel. "I'll make myself vulnerable if it saves someone's life because I know what I went through this summer helped save mine." And it's a good thing too because there are so many misconceptions about this common disorder. What's the real scoop about the disorder that causes its sufferers to experience intense emotions and lash out at others? Keep clicking as Dr. Shari Manning, author of "Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder," helps CBS News bust 8 common myths about BPD...
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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall talks to reporters after a session of the NFL football team's training camp in Davie, Fla., Sunday, July 31, 2011. Marshall said he was diagnosed earlier this year with borderline personality disorder.

(CBS) Miami Dolphins superstar Brandon Marshall said his dream home, nice cars, Pro-Bowl accolades, and monster contract couldn't buy him happiness.

"I haven't enjoyed not one part of it, and it's hard for me to understand why," Marshall, 27, told the Orlando Sentinel.

And now he's saying why. The 27-year-old football player suffers from borderline personality disorder.

He had seen psychiatrists since he entered the NFL, and four years of therapy had not helped. After he hit rock bottom following an April altercation with his wife that left him in the hospital with a stab wound and her in jail, he knew he needed treatment.

On the recommendation of teammate Ricky Williams, who has had his own mental health issues, he became a patient at McLean Hospital in Boston, where he was diagnosed with BPD.

"This is the most stigmatized disorder out there, but yet it's very treatable and with the right help, the right treatment program, the right treaters, one diagnosed with BPD, can live a healthy, effective, peaceful life," Marshall said.

His treatment program taught him how to "defuse the bomb inside of his head," according to an interview he gave to the Florida Sun Sentinel.

"By no means am I all healed or fixed," Marshall told the paper. "But it's like a light bulbs been turned on in my dark room."

People with borderline personality disorder suffer from inner turmoil that causes them to lash out impulsively and have chaotic relationships. Poor communication within a family, childhood abandonment, and abuse are risk factors. Marshall's spoken to the media in the past about his troubled childhood.

"BPD is a well understood psychological disorder," Mary Zanarini, a professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, who treated Marshall this summer told the Sun Sentinel. "It's not a form of misbehavior." She said BPD is more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but is rarely diagnosed because of misperceptions in the mental health community.

People with BPD are uncertain about their identity, and see things as only extremes - good or bad. These sudden shifts often lead to intense and unstable relationships. Symptoms include feelings of emptiness, fear and abandonment, inappropriate anger, and impulsivity. The disorder often leads to depression, drug abuse, problems with work and family, or suicide.

Marshall wants to use his fame to advocate for more widely available treatments for the disorder.

"I'll be the face of BPD," Marshall told the Sun Sentinel. "I'll make myself vulnerable if it saves someone's life because I know what I went through this summer helped save mine."

The National Institute of Mental Health has more on borderline personality disorder.