Does JD from Heathers have BPD? (+3 Causal factors)

In this interesting article, we have discussed if JD from Heathers has BPD. We will also be checking out the signs and symptoms of mental health issues which JD depicts in the film, along with a few contributing or causal factors which could have led to these.

Does JD from Heathers have BPD?

No, JD from Heathers does not have BPD. JD or James Dean is not confirmed to have Borderline Personality Disorder in the black-comedy film. However, many fans and critics of the film assume that he may have some undiagnosed mental health disorder.

James Dean is the antagonist who appears in Heathers and the romantic interest of Veronica Sawyer. What starts out as a cute romance soon turns toxic as JD turns out to be a murderer who is bent on taking down everyone in his path, including Veronica.

While James Dean or JD definitely does not have Borderline Personality Disorder, fans and critics of the film who have closely studied the character have come up with a number of theories regarding his mental health. Some of these theories have been discussed as follows,

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A very possible theory regarding the mental health diagnosis for JD from Heathers is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. James Dean is definitely struggling in the film after his mother’s suicide.

James’ mother kills herself by purposely walking into a building which has been rigged with explosives. The loss of his mother at such a young age is definitely scarring for James. It may be because of this traumatic incident that JD acts the way he does.

  • Schizophrenia: Some fans and critics of the show also feel that James Dean might actually have Schizophrenia. He depicts a number of delusions, and even paranoid ideations and poor social skills.

However, he does not show many psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, which are pretty common in Schizophrenia. At the same time, his delusions are quite strong. For instance, he thinks that his and Veronica’s love is ‘God.’

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: One very common theory as to James Dean’s mental health disorder is Antisocial Personality Disorder and this one really sticks. JD definitely shows a number of psychopathic tendencies.

According to James Dean in the film Heathers, the easiest way to deal with problems is murder. He shows a penchant for killing and does not even hesitate in the idea of blowing up an entire school.

Apart from the murders themselves, James Dean shows a number of other antisocial behaviors. For example, he is clearly addicted to cigarettes, has a misanthropic view of society and is ready to use his hands for violence at any time.

  • Attachment Disorder: James Dean from Heathers also definitely shows signs of Attachment Disorder. He clearly does not know how to form relationships, mainly because of his upbringing and his relationship with his father.

As a result, James is almost always isolating himself and prefers to be alone. He somehow manages to form a close bond with Veronica, but immediately puts her on a pedestal and feels threatened by anyone else in her life.

  • Depression: Another alternate diagnosis for James Dean or JD is Depression. This theory is not exactly well accepted because he does not show the physical signs of depression and actually seems to have a lot of enthusiasm for killing others.

Signs of mental health issues in JD from Heathers

JD from Heathers definitely has mental health issues and emotional instability. While he may have been a teenage heartthrob with his classic ‘bad boy’ attitude, James Dean’s mental health is certainly no laughing matter.

JD’s actual mental health diagnosis is never properly confirmed in the film, but many fans and critics point to Antisocial Personality Disorder. Some signs of mental health issues that JD shows in the film Heather are listed as follows.

 He is not hesitant to kill others

James Dean is a murderer, no doubt about that. Although this is not apparent in the film at the beginning, it becomes clear after the first murder. In fact, even James Dean seems to get a thirst for killing only after the death of Heather Chandler.

Homicide is definitely a sign of mental health issues. In James Dean, the theory that he struggles with Antisocial Personality Disorder is pretty clear in this behavior of his. It is also implied that JD might have killed others and faked their suicides before Heather Chandler.

He sees his love for Veronica as ‘God’

When he arrives at Westerburg High School in Sherwood, James Dean is a loner and more of an observer of his surroundings. He stays away from making friends and is often socially isolated. All this changes when he meets Veronica.

The romantic relationship that JD and Veronica shared was truly intense and one for the books. The feelings of the individual people seemed to be quite different. JD truly worshiped Veronica and even claims that their ‘Love is God.’

He sees Veronica as a truly ethereal being and cannot stay away from her. He also kills other people who have hurt Veronica without any hesitation. In the end, he cannot believe that Veronica does not want to be with him and tries to kill her as well.

He well-plans his murders

James Dean is not just someone who murders people willy-nilly. He can be seen planning his murders very well. This can be clearly seen from the first murder at Westerburg that he commits, that being of Heather Chandler.

While Veronica simply wants to make Heather drink milk and orange juice so that she throws up, JD replaces it with drain cleaner fluid. He did not expect Heather to fall on the glass table and kill herself, but the clarity of mind through which he turned her death into a suicide is toxic.

He also properly plans the murders of Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney, deceiving Veronica that the bullets are simply tranquilizers. This type of planning to kill and hurt others can only be seen in PDs like Antisocial Personality Disorder since they need intelligence and clarity of mind.

He has a negative view of life

James Dean also seems to look at life in a very negative angle, and this can also be seen clearly in the film. He seems to take the worst of people and assume that everyone is going to be a pathetic mess. This cannot be blamed entirely on him looking at his upbringing.

He loses his stability towards the end

Once he gets to know that Veronica wants nothing to do with him and may out him as a murderer at any moment, James Dean definitely loses his cool. He can be seen doing psychotic stunts to kill Veronica and also the other students of the school.

In the end of the story, James Dean ultimately kills himself by blowing himself up with a bomb that he has strapped on his chest. These actions and behaviors show how unhinged James Dean becomes and the toxic pattern that he shows in the film.

Causes of mental health issues in JD from Heathers

The black-comedy film, Heathers, was definitely a favorite and beautifully portrayed toxic relationships and the effects of bad parenting on children. The mental health struggles of James Dean, the main antagonist, could have been caused by the following factors:

  • His constant move from town to town did not allow him to form stable relationships with friends and peers
  • His father failed to show him the love and care JD needed as a child. Parental neglect of their children is definitely a causal factor for personality disorders.
  • JD’s mother killed herself a few months before he moved to Westerburg. He never sought therapy or counseling to get over this traumatic incident, and actually made him assume that homicide or death was the solution for many problems.


In this interesting article, we have discussed if JD from Heathers has BPD. We have also checked out the signs and symptoms of mental health issues which JD depicts in the film, along with a few contributing or causal factors which could have led to these.

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