Does Lain from Serial Experiments Lain have BPD? (+7 Signs of issues)

This interesting post will be discussing if Lain has BPD. We will also be checking out some of the signs of psychological issues and mental distress that Lain depicts in the anime series ‘Serial Experiments Lain.’ Additionally, we will try to explain a few causal factors of these issues.

Does Lain from Serial Experiments Lain have BPD?

No, Lain does not have BPD. Lain Iwakurai, who appears as a titular character in the anime series ‘Serial Experiments Lain’ does not have Borderline Personality Disorder, and does not show many of the characteristic signs of this PD.

In the series, Lain plays a 14-year old girl who gets trapped between the real world and the virtual world known as ‘The Wired.’ She is subjected to endless torture from the ‘Knights’ who run the show at The Wired in order to trap her in the virtual world forever.

Lain is actually an introverted and shy girl who is always doubtful of herself. However, her journey into The Wired and her metamorphosis into the prophesied goddess make her more confident and assertive in the end.

Many fans and critics of the show have tried their best to pin a label on Lain and her mental status and have come up with a number of theories. A couple of theories which Lain is theorized to have are described as follows,

  • Dissociative Identity Disorder: Several fans and critics of the series ‘Serial Experiments Lain’ have felt that the character definitely has Dissociative Identity Disorder. This is mainly because there is a real world Lain and a virtual world Lain.

Lain also exhibits several main signs and symptoms of DID such as lapses in her memory and a struggle to remember who she is. She also depicts a splitting of herself into ‘alter personalities’ or ‘alter identities.’

  • Paranoid Schizophrenia: Some critics of the series have felt that Lain may actually have Paranoid Schizophrenia. She constantly suspects that other people from The Wired are trying to trap her and hurt her.

She also has hallucinations. For instance, she sees her fingers smoking, which is obviously not possible in real life. She even seems to show dissociation at a number of instances, which fuel this theory.

Signs of psychological issues in Lain

In the anime series ‘Serial Experiments Lain’, the leading character Lain shows a number of signs of struggling with mental health and emotional distress. However, it is never actually confirmed as to what mental health disorder Lain might be struggling with.

Still, the character shows a number of signs that she is struggling with psychological issues, many of them pointing to Dissociative Identity Disorder. Some signs of psychological issues that Lain depicts in the anime series have been discussed in the following section.

She has a disturbed sense of self

Lain definitely does not have a stable sense of self. Right from the start of the series, Lain is a very introverted and anxious character. After she got involved with The Wired, her sense of self continuously deteriorated.

At one point, Lain also asks, “Who am I?” as she does not understand who she is anymore. Distortions in the sense of self can be seen in many psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and even bipolar disorder.

It can also be seen in personality disorders like Borderline Personality Disorder. Furthermore, it is quite common in Dissociative Identity Disorder, which makes many critics support this theory that Lain might have DID.

She often shows lapses in her memory

Lain also shows frequent lapses in her memory. This is again seen a lot when she delves into The Wired. She forgets what she is supposed to do and does not even remember small details in her own history.

She has hallucinations

Hallucinations are a common sign of psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and are also present in Dissociative Identity Disorder. Lain also seems to struggle with hallucinations. These occur to her way before she gets involved with The Wired.

For example, she sees her fingers smoking at one point. She also hears voices and other noises. In the first episode of the series, Lain is not able to see her classmates clearly, and even after squinting is only able to see more distorted figures.

She seems to have ‘alters’

Lain also seems to have alter personalities which are characteristic of Dissociative Identity Disorder. These alters do not exactly have a name or a separate identity, but certainly are separate personalities with distinguishing traits.

One of the alter personalities that Lain seems to deal with is a very childish and immature alter. Another one is an authoritative and highly dominating character. When she is in The Wired, Lain acts very assertive and actually bossy in nature, very different from her human self.

She does not pay attention to her surroundings

Even at the beginning of the series, Lain is known to never pay attention to her surroundings and even with those near and dear to her. Even when she is in the classroom, Lain does not listen to what is being discussed, failing to realize that Chisa actually killed herself.

She undergoes depersonalization

Lain also goes through a lot of depersonalization and almost lives out of her body, especially after she gets involved with The Wired. At many instances, it seems like Lain is actually viewing her life as an outsider and as an audience member.

Depersonalization is often seen in Dissociative Identity Disorder and even in Borderline Personality Disorder. It can often lead the person to feel more unsafe and can even lead to an anxiety attack since it is a very unsettling feeling.

In ‘Serial Experiments Lain’, the Depersonalization is even more literal. As she gets more and more involved in The Wired, Lain feels less and less like a person, and more like a virtual translation of her real personality and identity.

In the end of the series, Lain is basically stuck in a limbo between the real and the virtual world. However, she is able to make the choice as to which world she wants to live currently in, which basically shows her conquest of her fears and her distresses.

She struggles in her social relationships

Lain is definitely struggling in her socialization right from the start of the series. She is introverted and very awkward. She is basically a misfit among her classmates, and fits the definition of a social outcast.

As her psychological issues worsen after getting involved in The Wired Lain’s social relationships struggle even more. She yells at her own family, those whom she actually loves and adores.

She shows plenty of rage towards them, refusing to talk to them and being stuck with her own personal demons in The Wired for hours at an end. This is another sign of Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Causes of Lain’s psychological issues

Lain goes through many psychological torments in ‘Serial Experiments Lain.’ While a lot of light has been shed on her sufferings which are more in line with Dissociative Identity Disorder, not much attention has been given to the possible causal factors, such as,

  • Her father’s obsession with The Wired was perhaps the main reason why Lain followed in his footsteps. Lain’s father was addicted to the virtual world, which paved the way for Lain to become addicted as well.
  • Lain’s need to be included. As a misfit in her classroom and among those around her, Lain never was included or belonged to anything. However, in The Wired, Lain is a prophesied goddess, a position she will not easily let go of.


This interesting post has discussed if Lain has BPD. We have also checked out some of the signs of psychological issues and mental distress that Lain depicts in the anime series ‘Serial Experiments Lain.’ Additionally, we have tried to explain a few causal factors of these issues.

If you like this post, please leave your comments and questions in the space below.


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!