Case study for the character Susanna from "Girl, Interrupted." Do you know how to best describe her presenting problem and how to treat it?
She is diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, a difficult, almost "catchall" phrase that was highly controversial in the 60s. However, after almost 40 years of study, BPD has specific indicators, and they usually have to do with manic-depressive personality disorders. One day, the patient is very "up," the next day very "down," and in each of these emotional states, is not in control (without medication) of their emotions. They make bad decisions, they "act out," by behaving childishly, without concern for others or for outcome. They find it hard or impossible to keep a job, they are irresponsible, and there is often drug use or abuse. BPD is treated these days through anti-depressants, and some psychotropic drugs. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is in its 4th edition, and contains a lot of this information, but it is quite technical.