NFL Star Brandon Marshall Has Borderline Personality Disorder

Brandon Marshall speaks out about his struggles with mental illness.

ByABC News
August 1, 2011, 11:24 AM

Aug. 1, 2011 — -- Although he's been living out many boys' dream of playing in the NFL and obtaining all the luxuries that fame and fortune can bring, Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall confessed this weekend that he was never able to revel in his enormous success.

"I have a dream home, my house is beautiful. My wife did a great job putting our house together finding the right house for us. We have two nice cars, we have three beautiful dogs. But with all that said, I haven't enjoyed not one part of it," Marshall, 27, said in a press conference at Dolphins training camp.

The reason, Marshall revealed, is that he has been suffering for years from borderline personality disorder, a serious mental illness.

"Borderline personality disorder is marked by pervasive instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions," said Dr. Harold Bursztajn, co-director of the Harvard Medical School Program in Psychiatry and the Law. "It's marked by issues with impulsivity." Bursztajn did not treat Marshall, but spoke about the condition based on his clinical observations of other patients.

Those with BPD often experience intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that can be associated with aggression, alcohol or drug abuse and self-injury, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Marshall said one reason he spoke out about his condition was to set the record straight about a domestic incident this past spring that culminated in his wife allegedly stabbing him, something she told authorities she did in self-defense. No charges were filed against her.

Marshall defended his wife, saying did not stab him with a knife, and he thanked her for standing by him during his struggles with his illness.

"I wouldn't be able to articulate and paint a vivid enough picture for you guys to show you what I've been suffering from which in turns affects my wife, who's the closest person to me," Marshall said.

Marshall was open about his desire for treatment. There were a number of times when his volatility made headlines. He told the Sun Sentinel newspaper that he went for therapy for four years, but his unstable emotions were still simmering, ready to boil over.

He credits McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., where he spent three months undergoing intensive evaluation and treatment, for finally identifying his problem.

"I was praying that there was a treatment out there from what I suffered from, and there was, and that day brought excitement but a lot of confusion," Marshall said, referring to the day he was diagnosed.