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Darth Vader Isn't All There, Mentally


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Darth Vader's Diagnosis

by Mike Krumboltz · June 9, 2010

His enemies and underlings are painfully aware that Darth Vader is highly irritable and prone to bursts of anger. But until now, we don't think anybody knew that the Dark Lord of the Sith may have suffered from borderline personality disorder.

According to a popular blog over at CNN, French researchers have concluded that Mr. Vader (aka Anakin Skywalker) has, at various times, exhibited six of the nine criteria for borderline personality disorder. To be diagnosed with BPD, you need only showcase five of the behaviors.

Just what are these traits? Well, there are the unstable moods that Vader suffers. One minute he's happy because he sliced Obi-Wan Kenobi in half. The next, he's all huffy that his subordinates let the Millennium Falcon escape. And when Vader ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

There are also his unstable relationships to consider. Over the course of the "Star Wars" movies, Vader has tried to kill his son, Luke Skywalker, multiple times. However, he also saved Luke's life from his boss, the impossible-to-please Emperor Palpatine. The researchers write that Palpatine had a "dark and destabilizing influence" on Vader and likely contributed to his borderline personality.

And the issues don't stop there. Vader blew up his daughter's planet, and froze his future son-in-law, Han Solo, in carbonite. And Vader's mother? Oy vey, don't even get him started with the abandonment issues.

A related piece from LiveScience explains that the Darth Vader example may help teach students of psychology. A well-known fictional character is easy for people to understand and diagnose. And Vader is nothing if not well-known. He's perpetually in the public eye. Heck, the guy even endorses shoes.

Could anything have saved this troubled half-man, half-machine? Researchers feel that "psychotherapy would have helped" Vader and may have stopped him from turning to the dark side. "Using the dark side of the Force could be considered similar to drug use: It feels really good when you use it, it alters your consciousness and you know you shouldn't do it," says Eric Bui, a psychiatrist at Toulouse University Hospital in France.

Of course, all this is rather ridiculous, as The Los Angeles Times points out. Borderline personality disorder is a very serious problem for many people, mostly young women. Still, we suppose that Darth's diagnosis raises awareness of the condition. About time Vader did some good.

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