Does Mickey Milkovich from Shameless have BPD? (+3 Alternate diagnoses)

This detailed blogpost will be discussing if Mickey Milkovich has BPD by listing out the different signs and symptoms that he depicts in ‘Shameless.’ Furthermore, we will also look at the various other mental health disorders and issues that Mickey shows in the series.

Does Mickey Milkovich from Shameless have BPD?

Yes, Mickey Milkovich has BPD. The theory that Mickey Milkovich has Borderline Personality Disorder has never been confirmed in the comedy-drama series ‘Shameless’, where he appears as one of the characters.

It is definitely visible that Mickey Milkovich seems to be struggling with a number of mental health issues, but the series never confirms his actual diagnosis. As a result, a number of fans and critics have tried their best to pin a proper mental health diagnosis on the character.

One of the most common assumptions regarding Mickey Milkovich is that he may have Borderline Personality Disorder. Some signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder that Mickey Milkovich shows in ‘Shameless’, are discussed in the following section.

He has a fear of abandonment

Mickey Milkovich definitely has a high fear of abandonment and shows it, even if his favorite person has never shown it. In the series, Mickey Milkovich is in a relationship with Ian Gallagher for the most part.

Even when Ian did not actually show proof of leaving him or wanting to leave him, Mickey many times fears this and openly acts on the fear. In one instance, Mickey actually breaks out of jail just to be with Ian after he breaks up with him.

This goes to show how much Mickey actually loved Ian and wants to be with him. He even went to the extent of escaping from jail just to be with him. This fear of abandonment is actually a characteristic sign of Borderline Personality Disorder.

He often changes his perception of others

Another sign of Borderline Personality Disorder that Mickey Milkovich shows is that his perceptions of others can change frequently. This is especially seen in his relationship with Ian Gallagher, his favorite person.

Even though Mickey has strong feelings for Ian, at many times he demonstrates a splitting behavior. While at times he feels that Ian is the best person in the world, at other times, he can be seen devaluing him totally, which is a sign of BPD.

He shows a number of reckless behaviors

Just like the rest of the characters in the series, Mickey Milkovich also shows a lot of impulsive and reckless behaviors. He takes part in a number of impulsive behaviors in the series like drug abuse, dangerous driving and even spending money he does not have.

His self-image seems to be distorted

Mickey’s view of himself is also quite distorted, as seen in many instances. His self-confidence is quite high a lot of the time, but many times, the way he views himself and his sexuality can be self-deprecating and devaluing.

He has taken part in self-harming

Another sign of Borderline Personality Disorder that Mickey shows in ‘Shameless’ is self-harming. The self-harming behaviors that Mickey takes part in the series are not exactly life-threatening but more to hurt him psychologically.

In the series, Mickey Milkovich is a homosexual and is clearly romantically interested in Ian Gallagher. However, at many times Mickey can be seen having sex with women although he does not want to.

He does so as a self-harming behavior. He basically voluntarily takes part in an activity that disgusts him and goes against his principles, just to hurt his ego. Self-harming traits like this are also common in Borderline Personality Disorder.

He has chronic feelings of emptiness

Another sign of Borderline Personality Disorder that Mickey Milkovich portrays is chronic feelings of emptiness. He is almost always depressed inside and visibly seeking for something to make him ‘fee;’, even if it is just temporary and actually self-destructive in nature.

He finds it hard to control his anger

Mickey Milkovich also throws up frequent temper tantrums in the series. He definitely finds it difficult to control his anger a lot of the time. Many times, this has led to challenges in his relationship with Ian and with others as well.

He seems to dissociate at times

Although this is not seen frequently as a habit, Mickey Milkovich can be seen dissociating a couple of times in the series. When he is going through a lot of emotional distress, Mickey can be seen experiencing major paranoia, almost dissociating from reality.

One instance of Mickey seemingly dissociating from reality is when he goes to a penthouse with Ian for a party. When he wakes up after dozing off, Mickey shows many signs of dissociating, almost unlike his actual personality and character.

He goes through many mood swings

Finally, Mickey Milkovich also seems to go through a number of mood swings. His actual mood can never be predicted and is never stable. These types of mood swings in Mickey not only denote the presence of BPD, but perhaps even some other mood disorder.

Mickey Milkovich’s mental health disorders

In the comedy-drama series ‘Shameless’, Mickey Milkovich is not exactly one of the main characters, but still stole the screen whenever he was depicted. Mickey definitely has a number of mental health issues. However, his actual diagnosis has never been confirmed in the series.

One theory regarding Mickey’s mental health status is that he may actually have Borderline Personality Disorder. At the same time, many other fans and critics of the show have felt that he may have some other type of disorder or issue. Some of these alternate theories are:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Mickey Milkovich did not exactly have a positive upbringing as a child. As many queer people, Mickey found it hard to come out to his family, especially with his father being hateful toward him.

Mickey actually grew up in a homophobic environment which was not mentally healthy. His family made Mickey hate his homosexuality, which is a large part of his self-identity. As a result of this, Mickey many times depicts a distorted sense of self.

While at many times, he loves himself, he also shows self-hatred at many other times. Growing up with such a family could have left deep scars in Mickey’s psyche and many times he seems to struggle to come to terms with this trauma.

As a result of this, many fans and critics and even mental health experts who have studied the show feel that Mickey Milkovich may fit the diagnostic criteria of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the signs and symptoms are very covert and subtle.

  • Anxiety: Some fans of the show ‘Shameless’ have also felt that Mickey Milkovich may also have some form of Anxiety Disorder, which might explain his tumultuous relationship with Ian Gallagher.

At the same time, Mickey does not show many signs and symptoms of Anxiety Disorder, such as going through panic attacks and avoiding certain places and people. Therefore, this theory is not commonly accepted.

  • Intermittent Explosive Disorder: Mickey Milkovich definitely has issues with his temper. He can fly into a rage at any given time with no serious explanation. His mood and emotions also seem to swing from extreme to extreme.

Due to this, Mickey is often touted to be struggling with Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Throughout the entirety of his appearances in the series, Mickey expresses his anger on people, things and many times toward himself.


This detailed blogpost has discussed if Mickey Milkovich has BPD by listing out the different signs and symptoms that he depicts in ‘Shameless.’ Furthermore, we have looked at the various other mental health disorders and issues that Mickey shows in the series.

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