Disorders diagnosed in Amber Heard are “debunked” and should be ruled out, warns psychologist

Already “debunked” psychological disorders diagnosed in Amber Heard must be ruled out immediately, a leading psychologist has said.

Dr. Jessica Taylor made this warning after a psychologist hired by Johnny Depp’s legal team to evaluate Heard testified that the actress has borderline personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.

The actor is currently involved in a media defamation lawsuit against his ex-wife Heard in Virginia, United States. Depp sued the actress in March 2019, claiming that a column she wrote for Washington Post about domestic abuse was defamatory, and he asked for US$50 million in damages. Heard filed a counterclaim for $100 million.

Although the article does not include any reference to Depp, his legal team argues that the article contains a “clear implication that Mr. Depp is a domestic abuser”, which they maintain is “categorically and demonstrably false”.

Dr. Taylor, who discusses the pathologization of women in mental health settings, told The Independent that, in his opinion, the two disorders diagnosed by the psychologist in Heard “are not proven medical conditions”, but “controversial psychiatric labels highly questioned”.

The psychologist, who also specializes in sexual violence and victim blaming, explained that “she has not heard anyone use the term ‘histrionic personality disorder’ without irony in years, and stated that it is a ‘discredited disorder'”.

Dr Taylor, previously Senior Lecturer in Criminological and Forensic Psychology at the University of Derby, said: “Histrionic personality disorder arose from the diagnosis of ‘hysteria’, which could only be given to women.”

The term “hysterical woman” in the 1968 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was changed in 1980 to “histrionic woman” in a revised version of the text, after “top psychiatrists theorized that ‘histrionic women were fickle’ , self-centered, seductive, frigid and childish’”, added the doctor.

“Hysteria and histrionic personality disorder became known as the ‘mental health garbage can,’ with many influential academics denying their existence,” he added.

“Women could be diagnosed with these terms for not smiling enough, not giving men enough sex, being lesbian or bisexual, being too assertive, too opinionated, leaving their husbands, or even reading too many books.

“It is outrageous that in 2022, a psychologist will testify on the stand that a woman has ‘histrionic personality disorder.’”

Dr. Taylor said the same can be argued about borderline personality disorder, which she called “another junk diagnosis given to women,” noting that women are seven times more likely to receive this diagnosis than men.

The specialist indicated that borderline personality disorder arose from histrionic personality disorder, and that they are constructs that overlap in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and “one is born from the other.”

He also noted that Dr. Shannon Curry, Depp’s hired psychologist, suggested that borderline personality and histrionic personality disorder have a “genetic basis”, but Taylor rejected this.

“There has never been any proof of a genetic basis for any personality disorder, so this is categorically false. No genes have been found for any mental health disorder, and the American Psychiatric Association agrees that, at this time, we do not know the relationship between biology and psychiatric disorders.”

Dr. Taylor argued that men’s mental health is typically used to “position them as vulnerable and victimized,” while women’s mental health is used to portray them as “deviant and dangerous.”