Borderline Personality Disorder,  Celebrities,  Impulsiveness,  Medication,  Substance Abuse

Why would Lindsay Lohan shoplift?

Well, obviously her shoplifting is alleged at this point. There is a TMZ article about things (other than the necklace) that she allegedly took. And another one regarding a fur coat that she wore and about which she had to settle a complaint against her for that. On these pages, I have analyzed the behavior of Lindsay and made the suggestion that she has borderline personality disorder. I am not a doctor, a diagnostic expert or have I ever actually met with Ms. Lohan. I am a person who is familiar with BPD and I have met numerous individuals with BPD and their families. Shoplifting can be a feature of borderline personality disorder. A question answered by Dr. Leland Heller about shoplifting and BPD says this:

Q. Dear Dr. Heller

Do a large percentage of BPD individuals have difficulty with impulsiveness which involves shoplifting? Can you comment on this form of self-injurious behavior.

Also I understand Klonopin is not to be given to individuals who have difficulty with impulsiveness, Please advise on this medication.

Someone in deep legal trouble that has just learned there is a name for the cause of all this pain.

A. Shoplifting has long been known to be one of the self-destructive, impulsive behaviors borderlines do to make dysphoria – anxiety, rage, depression, despair – go away. It’s similar to reckless driving, binge eating, binge shopping, etc. It’s not common, but it does happen.

Xanax – alprazolam – has been shown to worsen behavioral dyscontrol, which means there may be an increased risk of self-destructive behaviors. Klonopin is a very similar medication, and while I haven’t seen studies on it in this regard, it is logical to assume it will make BPD self destructive symptoms worse.

As you can see, Dr. Heller does indicate that shoplifting is an impulsive behavior and can be used to make the dysphoria of BPD go away. In addition, he goes on to indicate that benzos (particularly Xanax) can worsen self-destructive and impulsive behaviors. I have seen that effect with my own eyes. Xanax definitely decreases impulse control and increases behavioral dyscontrol. When mixed with alcohol, the effects can be even more dramatic. So, I thought I’d go out and try to discern if Lindsay Lohan is taking Xanax or other medications that would have these effects. Sure enough, there have been reports that Ms. Lohan is taking Xanax (along with Paxil and Adderall). The combination of poor impulse control (which is a feature of BPD, although it is also a feature of other disorders) and the Xanax could indeed lead to a self-control issue such as shoplifting. Here is a CNN report about Lindsay’s latest legal troubles regarding the alleged shoplifting of a $2,500 necklace. The question that immediately arises (at least for most people) is why? Why would she shoplift when she can afford to buy the product? Again, see above for possible explanation (Xanax + poor impulse control = try to make dysphoria go away). This whole incident reminded me of Winoa Ryder’s shoplifting case. In addition to her shoplifting, she also has apparently been taking Xanax.

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