Johnny Depp's defamation trial against ex-wife Amber Heard has taken a new turn and amid all the household drama being dragged to the court, a clinical and forensic psychologist - hired by Depp's lawyers - testified that the Aquaman actress showed signs of ‘Borderline Personality Disorder’.
Dr. Shannon Curry, who confirmed that she is not board-certified, told the court that she was asked to "provide a psychological evaluation" of Heard, in October 2021. Curry informed that she reviewed "all the case documents," Heard's medical records, audio and video recordings, photos and "multiple witness statements," and met with the Aquaman actress on two separate dates in Dec. 2021 for a total of around 12 hours.
A PEOPLE magazine report quoted Curry who asserted that “The results of Ms. Heard's evaluation supported two diagnoses: borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder."
She also said borderline personality disorder was "a predictive factor in women who implement violence against their partner," adding that "one tactic is physically assaulting and then getting hurt themselves... then using the legal system... for example using a restraining order".
What Is ‘BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER’?
According to Dr. Ziv Cohen, the medical director of Principium Psychiatry and a board-certified forensic and clinical psychiatrist, Borderline personality disorder is a type of mental disorder that impacts how a person thinks and feels about themselves. To note,
Dr. Cohen also informed that he has not treated Heard, reported PEOPLE. He also pointed out that he is "not in a position to say" if he agrees with the diagnosis, not having examined her, but in general, patients feel "chronic symptoms of emptiness," he explains.
"They have identity diffusion, which means they feel like they don't know who they are, and it can be so extreme that they try to join a cult or take on a persona that will give them some sense that they are real and that they have an identity. They tend to have a very extreme fear of abandonment, and they tend to have extreme mood swings, so they can suddenly be triggered to anger or sadness."
What is HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER?
Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) is a part of a group of psychological conditions where people have intense, erratic emotions and distorted mental image of self.
Also called “Cluster B” personality disorders, people who have this condition often base their self-esteem on other people's approval, making them behave inappropriately to seek attention. Therefore the word histrionic also means theatrical.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), here are some of the symptoms of HPD:
- Uncomfortable in situations where they are not the center of attention
- They have interactions with others characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior
- Display of rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions
- Consistent use of their physical attention to draw attention to self
- Has a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail
- Show of self-dramatization, theatricality, and exaggerated expression of emotion
- Is suggestible (that is, they are easily influenced by others or circumstances)
- Considers relationships to be more intimate than they actually are
According to Dr. Ziv Cohen, doctors have been aware of these conditions since the sixties and seventies, but, it was only in the last approximately 20-years, there’s "been a huge increase in awareness," with more mental health providers learning about and diagnosing people with the disorder.
The difference between the two "goes down to a debate in the mental health community about what are the roots of mental illness," Cohen says. "So bipolar disorder is a disease, it's a brain disease. Whereas borderline personality is a much more complex condition that has a strong psychological component."
"I certainly believe, as most psychiatrists do, that this is a distinct diagnosis from bipolar. Bipolar people can have manic depression where sometimes they're flying high and they feel like they're on top of the world, and then they're in a depressive phase where they can't get out of bed."
Borderline patients can appear to have similar mood swings, but "personality disorders are not things that come and go if you have it," Cohen says. "Depression can happen for a week and then go away. Borderline personality disorder is a stable trait," as reported by PEOPLE.
Can BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER Be Diagnosed and Treated?
The PEOPLE report quoted Cohen who revealed that medication can ‘help blunt some of the symptoms,’ such as anxiety and mood swings.
“It's not going to eliminate it completely, but it can really take the edge off for the patient. And that's really positive because even a 10 or 20 or 30% reduction of those symptoms can really make a difference," he says. The best treatment, though, is psychotherapy.
"In psychotherapy, we're going educate the patient about their condition. We're going help them identify the symptoms and behaviors. And then finally we're going help them modify how they react to certain situations so that they can react more adaptive way," Cohen says. "But that process is a laborious one, and it generally takes years."
However, Cohen pointed out that people with borderline personality disorder, particularly in light of Curry's claims about Heard, is that just because someone has the condition it does not discount their beliefs and thoughts.
"Patients with borderline personality do cry wolf a lot. That is true. But of course, even someone who cries wolf can be a victim," he says. "So we have to be very, very careful that we take very seriously any allegations, and not just dismiss them because the person has borderline personality. Even if she has it, that doesn't mean that she's not abused."
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