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Darth Vader's Psyche: What Went Wrong?

Anakin Skywalker, the Star Wars character who became
Darth Vader, had borderline personality disorder, psychiatrists report.

The news comes not from a galaxy far, far away, but from San Diego, where
the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is holding its 160th annual

Today, experts from the psychiatric department at France's University
Hospital of Toulouse told the APA's annual meetingB that Anakin
Skywalker/Darth Vader could "clearly" be diagnosed with borderline
personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness marked by
instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior,
according to background information on the web site of the National Institute
of Mental Health (NIMH).

The French psychiatrists -- who included Laurent Schmitt, MD -- based their
diagnosis on original Star Wars film scripts.


Skywalker Psyche

Schmitt's team describes Skywalker's symptoms, including problems with
controlling anger and impulsivity, temporary stress-related paranoia,
"frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (when trying to save
his wife at all costs), and a pattern of unstable and intense personal
relationships," including his relationships with his Jedi masters.

Changing his name and turning into "Darth Vader" is a red flag of
Skywalker's disturbed identity, note Schmitt and colleagues.

The researchers aren't suggesting that real people with borderline
personality disorder are Darth Vaders-in-the-making. Skywalker's symptoms are
an extreme, fictional case.

Borderline personality disorder can be treated with psychotherapy and
medication. But that wasn't part of Skywalker's script.


  • Can you diagnose
    your favorite movie villain? Talk about it on WebMD's message boards.


By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
B)2005-2006 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved

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