The Best And The Brightest
Trump thinks he is the best. He thinks he is the smartest. He feels entitled. He is always right. He is vain. As Trump says, he knows more about war than the generals, more about the environment than the scientists, more about international affairs than our allies and more about the coronavirus than the medical experts. Trump sees himself as the closest thing to God.
Trump is compelled by his needs, his wishes, his desires, his hunches. He does not abide by boundaries, norms or laws. He thinks his conspiracy theories and magical thinking are the truth because they are his truth. Science and data do not matter what he thinks and wants is much more defining for him. Listening to medical experts during this pandemic is unacceptable to him because their recommendations run contrary to his personal and political narratives. Drinking disinfectant and inserting light to the body counteract the coronavirus were his brilliant ideas. The fact that all medical experts dismissed his ideas as foolish did not dissuade Trump he just double-downed and then shifted to another conspiracy theory. One example is his assertion that the pandemic is a hoax concocted by the Democrats to hurt his re-election chances.
The Shared Psychosis Of Donald Trump And His Loyalists
Forensic psychiatrist Bandy X. Lee explains the outgoing presidents pathological appeal and how to wean people from it
The violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building last week, incited by President Donald Trump, serves as the grimmest moment in one of the darkest chapters in the nations history. Yet the rioters actionsand Trumps own role in, and response to, themcome as little surprise to many, particularly those who have been studying the presidents mental fitness and the psychology of his most ardent followers since he took office.
One such person is Bandy X. Lee, a forensic psychiatrist and president of the World Mental Health Coalition.* Lee led a group of psychiatrists, psychologists and other specialists who questioned Trumps mental fitness for office in a book that she edited called The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. In doing so, Lee and her colleagues strongly rejectedthe American Psychiatric Associations modification of a 1970s-era guideline,known as the Goldwater rule, that discouraged psychiatrists from giving a professional opinion about public figures who they have not examined in person. Whenever the Goldwater rule is mentioned, we should refer back to the Declaration of Geneva, which mandates that physicians speak up against destructive governments, Lee says. This declaration was created in response to the experience of Nazism.
Mueller Report Shows Trump Is A Narcissistic Imbecile Not A Criminal
However, Dr Zinner claims that the rule does not apply to the president, and he told Dr Lee that the basic guidelines for the ethical canons says that a psychiatrists responsibility, first and foremost, is to his or her patients and to society and to his colleagues and himself, in that order. It does not include a public figure.
In 2016, after multiple journalists asked for the organisation to comment on Mr Trumps mental health, the American Psychological Association president Susan McDaniel said that the ruling does apply to public figures and added that she and her colleagues could not comment.
She added: Our Code of Ethics clearly warns psychologists against diagnosing any person, including public figures, whom they have not personally examined.
The Independent has contacted the Trump campaign for comment.
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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:
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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Mental Health Does Not Necessarily Determine Ability
Suffering from a mental health issue does not necessarily mean someone is incapable of being president. And, conversely, someone with good mental health might be utterly unsuitable for office.
Actually, it is not unusual for world leaders to display signs of mental health problems. An academic study of the 37 US presidents between 1776 to 1974 found that half of them met criteria suggesting psychiatric disorder.
Professor Allen Frances has outlined his personal take on this point, saying: Donald Trump is evilbad not madand incompetent.
It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill to be lumped with Mr. Trump . Bad behaviour is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely.
For those who believe Trump is a dangerous and bad president, it may be tempting to conflate his perceived shortcomings with mental illness and then use this as a reason to remove him from office.
Its possible some of the claims may ultimately turn out to be correct, but the issue is more complex than is often presented.
Indeed, this is a point recognised by many of the experts who have raised concerns about Trump, such as the psychohistorian, Robert Lifton.
It isnt always the question of a psychiatric diagnosis, he explained. Its really a question of what psychological and other traits render one unfit or dangerous.
Cpac Speech Underscored Need For Assessment
At its extreme, this is called tangential speech. As psychologist Ben Michaelis told Stat, doctors evaluating for Alzheimers listen for tangential remarks and non sequiturs and whether the patient can stay on topic.
You had to listen to Trump’s whole CPAC speech to realize just how tangential it was. Those who learned about the speech from glancing at mainstream news headlines the next morning would have no idea how flat-out bonkers the whole thing was even by Trumpian standards, Amanda . The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson said Trump gave a rambling and incoherent two-hour speech in which he raved like a lunatic.
Americans have a right, indeed an urgent need, to know whether their president is suffering from dementia. We see clear signs that he is, but the only way to find out for sure is to give him a full neuropsychological evaluation and share the results with the American public. The need is more screamingly obvious now than it was a when we first called for it over a year ago.
John Gartner is a psychologist and a former assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
How Do Psychologists Describe President Trumps Childhood
In July 2020, President Trumps niece and a clinical psychologist Mary Trump published the book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. She argues that Trump had no role model for vulnerability, empathy, and reciprocity, and that displaying those traits was dangerous in the familys household. President Trump tried to win his fathers approval throughout his life, which Mary Trump claims may inform the way he relates to certain world leaders today.
Has Mental Health Been An Issue For Previous Presidents
Yes – presidents have suffered from mental ill health going right back to Abraham Lincoln, whose clinical depression prompted several breakdowns.
More recently Ronald Reagan, who was president from 1981 to 1989, suffered confusion and seemed unsure of where he was at times – he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years after he left office.
The 25th amendment has never been used to depose a sitting president.
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Trump’s Mental Health And Why People Are Discussing It
It is a question that has dogged Donald Trump – fairly or otherwise – since he was elected president: is he mentally fit for office?
The question has been raised again by the release of a new book by New York journalist Michael Wolff, which chronicles the first year of the Trump White House.
The book – the accuracy of which has been disputed by the White House and queried by others – paints the president as impatient and unable to focus, prone to rambling and repeating himself.
Mr Trump has hit back against Mr Wolff’s account, claiming on Twitter to be a “very stable genius” whose “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart”.
But the president’s manner and speaking style have led to armchair diagnoses of a host of ailments, from Alzheimer’s to narcissistic personality disorder – a controversial practice that has divided the medical profession.
….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..
Donald J. Trump
….to President of the United States . I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!
Donald J. Trump
Capsicles And Mishiz And Midtowm Elections
In Alzheimers, as language skills deteriorate, we see two types of tell-tale speech disorders, or paraphasias:
Semantic paraphasia involves choosing the incorrect words. For instance, after Attorney General William Barr released a letter on the Mueller report, Trump said: I hope they now go and take a look at the oranges, the oranges of that investigation, the beginnings of that investigation.”
Phonemic paraphasia, which is linked to the moderate to severe stages of Alzheimers, is described as “the substitution of a word with a nonword that preserves at least half of the segments and/or number of syllables of the intended word. For example, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu becomes Betanyahu, big league becomes bigly, anonymous becomes enenamas or “anenomynous,” renovation becomes renoversh, missiles become “mishiz,” space capsule becomes capsicle, midterm elections become “midtowm” and “midturn” elections, and Christmas becomes Chrissus.
Trumps speech patterns appear even more disordered when you go beyond the sound bite and look at a whole speech. He careens from one thought to the next in a parade of non sequiturs, frequently interrupting himself in the middle of a sentence to veer into another free association. When commentators described his two-hour speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month as unhinged, they were referring in large part to this quality.
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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’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.
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Trump Is Now Dangerous That Makes His Mental Health A Matter Of Public Interest
This world authority in psychiatry, consulted by US politicians, argues that the presidents mental fitness deserves scrutiny
Eight months ago, a group of us put our concerns into a book, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President. It became an instant bestseller, depleting bookstores within days. We thus discovered that our endeavours resonated with the public.
While we keep within the letter of the Goldwater rule which prohibits psychiatrists from diagnosing public figures without a personal examination and without consent there is still a lot that mental health professionals can tell before the public reaches awareness. These come from observations of a persons patterns of responses, of media appearances over time, and from reports of those close to him. Indeed, we know far more about Trump in this regard than many, if not most, of our patients. Nevertheless, the personal health of a public figure is her private affair until, that is, it becomes a threat to public health.
To make a diagnosis one needs all the relevant information including, I believe, a personal interview. But to assess dangerousness, one only needs enough information to raise alarms. It is about the situation rather than the person. The same person may not be a danger in a different situation, while a diagnosis stays with the person.
Psychological Interest In The Trump Presidency
President Trump has defiantly flipped the presidential script, making chaos and deliberate combativeness the new normal of White House operations, manifest in hostile briefings, high rates of staff turnover, and cultural exchanges that appear aimed at dividing the nation.
There is widespread debate about the degree to which Trump should be held directly or indirectly accountable for changes in civil discourse, with some citing his rhetoric and policies as a spur to hate crimes while others claim he has been unfairly demonized by the press.
Millions of people around the country and the globe have expressed bafflement at the nature of the personality at the center of it all, and many are alarmed by tactics and policies that appear not only erratic but often retrogressive and undermining of long-established democratic practices. Chief among them is a well-documented distortion of facts if not outright lies about everything from crowd size at the inauguration to discussions with foreign heads of state.
Throughout his term, a large segment of the population sought to quell their emotional reactivity to the chaos of the presidency and to rationally navigate the civic, legal, and ideological battles that play out daily, from Twitter to the federal courts.
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It Is An Interesting Question Isnt It
The reason for that is that most of us are interested in people we get intrigued by the inner lives of others were interested in personality. But what exactly is personality? Most people would probably say something like that someones personality is how someone usually is. So that is how they think, respond emotionally, behave, and what their relationships are like and this is a useful way to think about the subject: how one thinks, feels, behaves and is in relationships is really just how one lives. So when aspects of someones personality constantly lead to problems in their lives for the individual or those around them, a psychiatrist would say that this may indicate a Personality Disorder .
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Assigning psychological disorders to Trump is not only wrong but futile. Vice President Pence, the Cabinet, and Congress would never invoke the 25th Amendment because it would amount to political suicide for everyone concerned and for the Republican Party. Any psychological fitness exam would also be inherently biased and unreliable. My guess is that Trump will eventually be removed from power, but via the appropriate investigative and political process, not a psychiatric evaluation.
I believe that Trump is a mirror of the American soul, a surface symptom of our deeper societal disease. He may not be crazy, but we certainly were for electing him. We mustnt waste this Trumpian dark age. If we dont learn from it, we will keep making the same mistakes.
Allen Frances, M.D., was chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University and also chaired the task force responsible for revising the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. He is the author of Twilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump .
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