Does Hannah Baker from ’13 Reasons Why’ have BPD? (+3 Alternate diagnoses)

This detailed article will be answering if Hannah Baker has BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder, by listing out the various signs and symptoms that she depicts in ’13 Reasons Why.’ Furthermore, we will also be discussing the other mental health disorders she had.

Does Hannah Baker from ‘13 Reason Why’ have BPD?

Yes, Hannah Baker has BPD. In the drama series ’13 Reasons Why’, Hannah Baker truly shows a number of signs that she struggles with Borderline Personality Disorder. But, the series does not actually confirm that Hannah suffers from such a PD.

Hannah Baker is one of the main characters in the series ’13 Reasons Why’, who seeks revenge on those who caused her hurt and led to her suicide. In the series, Hannah only appears in the form of flashbacks, and sometimes in hallucinations in Clay.

Many fans and even mental health experts have tried to deduce what mental health disorder Hannah Baker might have struggled with. The main obstacle in this arm-chair diagnosis is that Hannah is a teenager and does not fit the diagnostic criteria for many mental health disorders.

Also, Hannah only appears as flashbacks and hallucinations, and not much information is available about her upbringing. The only information about her is through the tapes she made. This can also hinder the process of diagnosis.

Still, these obstacles have never stopped people from handing out their diagnoses of Hannah Baker, with most of them assuming that she indeed might have Borderline Personality Disorder. The various signs and symptoms of BPD that Hannah shows are discussed as follows:

She clearly fears abandonment

Hannah Baker definitely fears abandonment, which is a characteristic sign of Borderline Personality Disorder. Most of Hannah’s fears of abandonment are actually only in her head and never real.

This sign is actually quite hard to read since it is very subtle in nature. Hannah assumes that everyone around her hurts her because they are trying to leave her or abandon her. But, she never asserts herself, even when she has the means to do so.

She desperately wants someone to reach out to her and show them that they care about her. For instance, before she kills herself, she tries her best to convince her teacher to stop her. But, he does not understand enough to do so, which is the final tipping point for Hannah.

She has a distorted self-image

Hannah Baker definitely struggles in her self-image throughout the series. Most of the time, her self-image is disturbed and poor. But, there are many instances when her self-image, including her self-confidence, piques up. This is mostly when other people act lovingly towards her.

She thrives on the attention that other people show to her, especially from the opposite sex. This can be seen when Alex, her friend Jessica’s boyfriend, created a hot list and termed Hannah as ‘Best Ass’ which was actually meant to cause friction between the two friends.

This ‘hot list’ makes Hannah a target for other men. But the attention that Hannah needs is not the superficial kind. And assuming that she is just considered a piece of meat for men around her kills her self-image, leaving her to contemplate her suicide.

Hannah goes through unstable relationships

None of Hannah’s relationships in the series as presented by her flashbacks were stable and healthy in nature. She however, becomes very intense in her relationships, even when there is not much substance.

This is not only limited to romantic relationships, but even her friendships. Hannah constantly swings between idealization and devaluation when it comes to those who interact with her, especially when they have behaved rudely with her.

She shows dissociation

Dissociation is a characteristic sign of Borderline Personality Disorder, and even many other mental health disorders. In Hannah’s case, a dissociative episode can be seen when she feels that those around her are talking about her and calling her out for her behaviors.

She takes part in impulsive behaviors

Even in the flashbacks where she appears, Hannah Baker’s impulsivity and recklessness are quite obvious. She indulges in many impulsive and unsafe behaviors like partying in places where there are dangerous substances and people.

While this may be different from the usual impulsive behaviors such as unsafe sex, drinking and drunk driving, Hannah still seems to easily seek out situations where she will surely get hurt or rejected by others.

She is very moody

Hannah Baker also demonstrates a lot of moodiness throughout her appearances. Most of the time, Hannah seems to be depressed, anxious, frustrated or irritated with others. She is hardly seen happy or even excited.

Moodiness is not only present in Borderline Personality Disorder, but can also be seen in other mental health disorders like depression and bipolar disorder. At many instances, Hannah’s moodiness even leads to problems in her relationship with her friends and partners.

She has chronic feelings of emptiness

Hannah Baker is truly depressed and rarely shows any excitement or happiness in her flashbacks. Her flashbacks also basically show how everyone else perceived her as a terribly sad and disturbed girl.

Her depressive phases can also be referred to as chronic feelings of emptiness, which is again a characteristic sign of Borderline Personality Disorder. These feelings may also be present in depression.

She takes part in self-harming

Self-harming traits are also pretty characteristic of Borderline Personality Disorder. Hannah Baker does not show many self-harming traits. However, she eventually kills herself by slitting her wrists, which tells the tale all by itself.

Hannah Baker’s mental health disorder

Hannah Baker from ’13 Reasons Why’ has left a deep and lasting impression on the minds of viewers especially about teenage mental health. She does not receive a clinical diagnosis in the series, and is often depicted to show a number of signs of various illnesses and disorders.

One theory according to fans who have closely studied Hannah Baker’s personality and character is that she might be struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. However, apart from BPD, Hannah is also theorized to have a number of other issues such as,

  • Depression: The theory that Hannah Baker indeed suffered from depression is often touted among online forums discussing ’13 Reasons Why.’ In fact, the character definitely showed a number of signs of suffering from depression.

Hannah rarely seems to be happy, and is almost always frustrated and irritated in her flashbacks. Her depression, especially after certain traumatic incidents, is often blamed for leading her to take the drastic decision of killing herself.

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is yet another theory when it comes to Hannah Baker’s mental health. Hannah Baker experiences a number of painful incidents, like sexual assault which could have led to PTSD.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: Another rare theory when it comes to Hannah Baker’s mental health is Antisocial Personality Disorder. This is mainly because of her impulsive and reckless nature which has led her to many dangerous situations.

At the same time, this theory is often not accepted by others since Hannah is clearly the victim of a vicious cycle of behaviors and actions by others, especially men around her. It is touted that she shows signs of this PD after going through a number of traumatic incidents and assaults.


This detailed article has answered if Hannah Baker has BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder, by listing out the various signs and symptoms that she depicts in ’13 Reasons Why.’ Furthermore, we have also discussed the other mental health disorders she had.

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