Why Would It Matter
In theory it could cost Mr Trump his job.
Under the 25th amendment to the US Constitution, if the president is deemed to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”, the vice-president takes over. His cabinet and the vice-president together would need to kick-start the process, so it’s unlikely to happen, however many voices call for it.
The 25th Amendment: Could it be used to unseat Trump?
What About What The Dsm Calls Character Or Personality Disorders
Many people function in ways that indicate emotional immaturity, insufficient interpersonal skills, or dysfunctional thinking, feeling and behavioral patterns. These bad habits generally constitute personality or character styles. Within the range of normal human character patterns are kindly folks and bullies, generous folks and selfish ones, happy folks and others who are more serious, socially agile folks and others who are socially clumsy, etc.
More dysfunctional versions may be diagnosed as personality or character disorders, much like deafness is an organ disorder. Still, it would be a stretch to label personality disorders as “mental illness” just as deafness is not a physical illness.
Narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, abusive personality, psychopathy, etc each involve excesses or absence of specific aspects of mental functioninge.g., excesses of emotional reactivity, absence of empathy, or lack of ethical awareness. Narcissistic individuals, for instance, have a handicap with regard to seeing and hearing others’ concerns. Similarly, ADD is a pattern of attention deficits that cause difficulty maintaining mental focus and concentration.
These excesses and deficits are dysfunctions. They are handicaps, much like blindness or deafness, rather than mental illness.
Likewise, people with ADD often prove to be highly creative, that is, able to think in new ways about old problems. They also sometimes have strong intuitive wisdom.
Confusing People And Generations
Memory loss is the symptom most closely associated with Alzheimers. While Trump famously forgets the names of people and places , one could make allowances for such gaffes. More troubling, Michael Wolff reported in “Fire and Fury” that at the end of 2017, Trump failed to recognize “a succession of old friends” at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump, 72, seemed to hit a new inflection point last week when he said, My father is German. Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany. In fact, his father was born in the Bronx and it was his grandfather who was from Germany.
Dementia Care International says a “person may start to mix up relationships and generations in the second stage of dementia.
One day, when my Uncle Bruce was agitated, he cried out for me saying, Call John. Hes a rich lawyer. Hell know what to do even though it was my father who was the lawyer, not me. That was not in the early phase of the illness. That incident took place a few months before Uncle Bruce was forced to enter the nursing home.
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The Dangerous Case Of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists And Mental Health Experts Assess A President
Just between the time that an email request from the book review editor of the Journal arrived to the time of sitting down to begin writing a first draft of this review , there was a flood of print and electronic media opinions on the interrelated topics of President Donald Trump’s mental health and perceived dangerousness. Further, elucidated during this discussion has been the controversy about the American Psychiatric Association’s position on the Goldwater Rule, which declares unethical and forbids all public opinions by psychiatrists about diagnoses and mental health status of public figures whom the opining party has not directly examined according to accepted standards for psychiatric evaluation.
To many psychiatrists, President Trump’s statements and behaviors were patently symptomatic of one or several mental disorders. The facts of the case and the serious risks of erosion of our constitutional democracy and possible nuclear annihilation of the world demanded that psychiatrists warn the public. The analogy to the silence of Germany’s educated and professional classes during Hitler’s ascendancy to power was too obvious to ignore but roughly 40 percent of the country does not agree that the president is evil or dangerous.
What Is The Goldwater Rule
The Goldwater Rule states that psychiatrists should not diagnose a public figure unless they have personally examined that figure or have consent to discuss the figures mental health. This rule was established by the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 as a response to the presidential campaign between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Fact Magazine had asked psychiatrists if Goldwater was psychologically fit to be president, and their opinions sparked controversy and criticism, as well as a lawsuit from Goldwater.
Many mental health professionals have abided by the Goldwater Rule throughout the Trump presidency. Others have voiced their opposition and shared their perspective on President Trumps mental fitness through the book The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President and other platforms.
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Why Has Trump Changed Ideas About Leadership
President Trump is like no other leader the nation has electedbold, impulsive, turbulent, and divisive, with no political experience whatsoever. The traits most people value in a leader, research suggests, include intelligence, diligence, humility, honesty, and compassion. Fewer people prefer a strongman leadership style that encompasses selfishness, aggression, and manipulation . President Trumps ability to frame himself as a populist, and succeed with authoritarian traits, has altered the template for leadership.
Trump Might Behave Differently In Private
The biggest problem mental health experts face when trying to make claims about President Trump is a lack of insight into how he acts in private.
Some leading figures say there is tons of information about his behaviour. But others disagree.
As Dr Wondemaghen points out, most psychiatrists agree that close observation and access to the persons family and medical history is essential for diagnosis.
This is why most mental health experts, like Bandy Lee, stop short of issuing a specific diagnosis and merely say the signals are enough to cause concern.
But many of the claims are based largely on Trumps public life speeches, interviews and tweets. The problem for psychologists is determining where his public life ends and private life begins. To what extent is his public persona just an act?
One would expect any politician to speak differently during a speech than how they would with their family.
So even if we believe his public act is poorly-judged or concerning, it is still difficult to distinguish the mental health from the politics.
Steven Berglas, a psychologist who works as an executive coach and consultant, has said: You cannot discern from public behavior whether a persons behavior represents an authentic personality style or is choreographed.
Even for those who believe Trumps public appearances can be used to judge his mental health, it is still important not to be too selective with the evidence.
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So Does Donald Trump Have A Personality Disorder
As a psychiatrist it is not good practice for me to make a diagnosis on someone who I havent clinically examined. So while I wont commit to a diagnosis in this article let me leave you with the following
Criteria for considering if a diagnosis of Personality Disorder is present include:
Does the individuals way of thinking, experiencing emotions, ability to control impulses and need for gratification and way of relating to others, manifest in a wide range of personal and social situations?
Criteria for considering the specific diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity , need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five of the following:
When And How Is Pd Treated
This depends on a number of factors including whether the individual with PD considers it serious enough to need treatment. This is important because the only recognised treatment is through undergoing some quite intensive psychotherapy, which needs considerable commitment on the part of the individual. There is no clear evidence that medications are helpful for PD.
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What Are People Saying
The current flurry of speculation has been triggered by the book Fire and Fury, in which Mr Wolff writes that during the course of his access to the White House preparing the book, he witnessed people around President Trump become aware that “his mental powers were slipping”.
During the marketing campaign for the book, Mr Wolff said Mr Trump, 71, repeated himself often. Repetition can be caused by poor short-term memory, as well as by other factors. It can be a sign of dementia, which affects 5-8% of people aged 60 and over worldwide, according to the World Health Organization.
Donald J. Trump
Concluding Thoughts On Diagnosing Celebrities
So, should doctors comment on the mental health of Donald Trump? Or do concerns regarding ethical obligations to protect society from a dangerous leader carry less weight than concerns regarding stigmatizing the mentally ill?
And then there is the issue of hidden agendas: Doctors might use the power and authority of their position to pathologize those they dislike or those whose behaviors are negatively affecting their personal lives.
This is particularly relevant because Bidens mental health, physical health, and competence have also been questioned. McNally calls this the danger of dueling doctors, meaning partisan clinicians eager to diagnose mental disorders in political candidates of the opposing party.
So, what should we do instead of questioning Biden’s or Trumps sanity and competence? It might be better, according to psychiatrist Allen Frances, to criticize a presidents potentially harmful and dangerous policies. Just to give one example, instead of pathologizing Trump, many have used logic and evidence to criticize his policies related to women, sexual minorities, Blacks, religious minorities , and others.
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Is Something Neurologically Wrong With Donald Trump
It is best not to diagnose the president from afar, which is why the federal government needs a system to evaluate him up close.
President Donald Trumps decision to brag in a tweet about the size of his nuclear button compared with North Koreas was widely condemned as bellicose and reckless. The comments are also part of a larger pattern of odd and often alarming behavior for a person in the nations highest office.
Trumps grandiosity and impulsivity have made him a constant subject of speculation among those concerned with his mental health. But after more than a year of talking with doctors and researchers about whether and how the cognitive sciences could offer a lens to explain Trumps behavior, Ive come to believe there should be a role for professional evaluation beyond speculating from afar.
Im not alone. Viewers of Trumps recent speeches have begun noticing minor abnormalities in his movements. In November, he used his free hand to steady a small Fiji bottle as he brought it to his mouth. Onlookers described the movement as awkward and made jokes about hand size. Some called out Trump for doing the exact thing he had mocked Senator Marco Rubio for during the presidential primaryconspicuously drinking water during a speech.
Why Do Conspiracy Theories Relate To The Trump Presidency
Donald Trumps political career was in part launched by promoting a conspiracy theorythat Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Throughout his term in office, Trump continued to embrace conspiracy theories, from claiming that Barack Obama had ordered FBI surveillance of the Trump campaign to refusing to disavow QAnon, the belief that a cabal of pedophiles is working to undermine the president. Conspiracy theories have generally been relegated to select corners of the Internet, but Trump has amplified them through the power of the presidencylending dangerous claims a wider reach and greater credibility.
Anyone can fall down the rabbit hole of a conspiracy theory. Yet conspiracy thinking is correlated with certain personality traits, including low levels of trust, an increased need for closure, and feelings of powerlessness, low self-esteem, and paranoid thinking. Conspiracy theories also proliferate during times of crisis, which characterizes the last year of the Trump presidency, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the economic recession and racial reckoning.
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Do Trump Supporters Tend To Share Any Traits In Common
President Trump has cultivated a strong and dedicated base of supporters. This has prompted some psychologists to wonder if these voters Research suggests that support for President Trump may be associated with a preference for authoritarianism, a preference for group hierarchies in society, less contact with people outside of ones in-group, and feeling a sense of deprivation relative to others.
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Donald Trump has failed us because he is, as he has always been, incompetent, and he suffers from extremely severe mental disorders, which render him incapable of attending to any issue beyond his own personal need for adulation.
The mental condition he suffers most from is formally known as a severe instance of narcissistic personality disorder, he added.
Dr Zinner said that the disorder is the failure in childhood and beyond to develop an inner sense of worth or self-esteem, and added that it makes ones worth entirely dependent upon admiration from others.
In 2017, Dr Zinner claimed that the presidents mental health posed an existential threat to the world as he has the ability to launch nuclear weapons at any time.
has a particular kind of character thats very well known, especially by psychoanalytically orientated mental health people, Dr Zinner said about the president in 2017.
What it involves is a fundamental self-esteem problem an insecure self-esteem, side by side with a sense of grandiosity. So the person has a very contradictory image of themselves, he added.
Dr Zinner did not diagnose the president with anything specific in 2017, but he is now among 37 other mental health professionals who have speculated on the state of Mr Trumps mental health, following the release of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 37 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President, edited by Dr Lee.
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Trump’s ‘mental Impairment Means He Cannot Think Strategically Or In Abstract Terms’ Claims Professor Of Psychiatry
A psychiatry professor claimed President Donald Trump is so mentally impaired that he cannot think in abstract terms and can only view things in a one-dimensional way.
Several experts in the areas of psychology and psychiatry have voiced concerns about Trump’s mental well-being. While some argue that it is important to do so given the global importance of the U.S. presidency and the power wielded by the office, critics say you cannot make a proper assessment or diagnosis without a face-to-face session.
“Trump has no policy on any issue because his mental impairment means he cannot think strategically or in abstract terms,” tweeted John M. Talmadge, MD, a physician and clinical professor of psychiatry at U.T. Southwestern Medical Center.
“He cannot weigh options, assess risk, or foresee consequences. Concepts like fairness, justice, honor, and integrity quite literally do not register. You can see this in every interview or press encounter. He never states an abstract thought or idea.
“Instead he falls back on simple adjectives: disgraceful, horrible, low-intelligence, perfect, innocent, nasty, stupid, fake, etc. He’s driven by negative emotion, often paranoid and often insulting, vulgar, vitriolic.”
UT Southwestern said Talmadge was speaking in a personal capacity.
So Is It Appropriate For Mental Health Professionals To Proclaim That President Trump Is Mentally Ill
President Trump clearly displays publicly observable off-putting behaviors. One does not have to be a therapist, for instance, to judge that when President Trump speaks harshly about other political figures he is violating American norms for appropriate public, or even private, behavior.
At the same time, unattractive and culturally frowned-upon habits do not constitute mental illness. And someone who has managed well enough to get himself elected as President of the United States is clearly functional.
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How Do Various Experts Define Mental Illness
Posted August 10, 2017
Many Americans, including many therapists, dislike our current President. They may be wary of Republican political and economic ideas like smaller government, less governmental regulation, and reform of health care and taxation. They may deeply distrust the man’s personal style. They may experience intense anger when they see the President via the media or hear discussions about him on talk shows. Do these concerns, however, justify therapists signing a document that says that President Trump is mentally ill?
One consideration is the ethics of whether mental health professionals should be allowed to publicly declare mental health opinions about political figures.
A second ethical issue is whether diagnosing someone whom you have not interviewed personally is legitimate. Debate on these issues has been lively.
This post addresses a third issue. How do mental health professionals define mental illness?