Dystopic Trumpean dark age

Calling Donald Trump mentally ill is an insult to the mentally ill, psychiatrist says

A group of 33 psychiatrists recently wrote a letter to the New York Times saying Donald Trump demonstrates “grave emotional instability” that “makes him incapable of serving safely as president.”

“Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions,” the letter stated. “His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).”

Related: 10 shockingly awful quotes from Donald Trump’s Black History Month speech

Now, another leading psychiatrist is pushing back. But he’s not defending Easy D or criticizing the doctors for breaking the American Psychiatric Association’s 1973 Goldwater Rule, which states that it is unethical for mental health professionals to give an opinion about public figures they have not examined in person and obtained consent from to discuss their mental health.

He’s standing up for the mentally ill.

Dr. Allen Frances is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke University Medical College and used to serve chairman of the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV.

“Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder,” he writes in a letter to the editors at the New York Times. “I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.”

Related: These memes perfectly capture Justin Trudeau recoiling from Donald Trump’s hand

He continues: “Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy. It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither).”

Allen adds that mere bad behavior and/or rudeness/crassness/assholery “is rarely a sign of mental illness.” In fact, he says, “the mentally ill behave badly only rarely.”

He concludes his letter by asking people to stop referring to Tiny Hands as mentally-ill or using psychiatric name-calling as a “way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy.”

“He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers,” Allen says. “His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab.”

“The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological.”

You got that, folks? Stop calling Donald Trump “crazy” and instead stick to calling him an ignorant, incompetent, impulsive, wannabe dictator.

Related: CNN captures Donald Trump watching a blaring television on Air Force One instead of doing his job

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  • Jack Meoff

    I love everything about this article. Let’s see how the Don reacts to this on Twitter.

  • DCguy

    As Chris Rock once said “Why find new names, can’t somebody just be an asshole?”

    Oh, and anybody else noticed that the right wing troll new accounts have fallen back on the old attacked the Mormons and NOM tried to use a few years ago? Back then they said that if lgbts weren’t tolerant of their bigotry it made us “Intolerant”.

    Now the new storyline Right Wing radio is telling them to feed to us is a fake story of “I USED to be a liberal, but then I saw how MEAN the democrats are, and now I’m a proud Trump Supporter”

    So they are saying that an article like this turned them from a pink cap wearing liberal to a bigoted Trump supporter. (Snicker) The Trolls aren’t good at thinking up new tactics.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    He could snap. It’s like Laird Hamilton surfing big waves back-to-back. This is unhealthy for the whole family. Were he to leave now, he would be seen as the man who got the GOP in play and then stepped aside. He could use his family as an excuse to step off of the ride. My danger-o-meter is pinging today. It’s odd. I can’t place it, but my senses are on heightened alert. My dogs and cats are curled up like deer, so maybe it’s just me. Clean brushes and think, while the animals sleep.

  • davidkohl

    Trump has a personality disorder – narcissistic personality disorder – but he is not mentally ill. Mental illnesses can often be cured or almost always controlled. Personality disorders can’t be cured. Trump has the most dangerous of the personality disorders – as narcissists are liable to lash out when challenged or contradicted or shown to be wrong about things. They feel the need to ‘punish’ those who stand up to them and will use whatever position, wealth or other power to manipulate and destroy their ‘enemies’.
    So it is wrong to call him mentally ill – he is not. He knows exactly what he is doing. He surrounds himself with people who would never have risen to any significant position on their own. This makes them loyal and grateful to him.
    There are currently at least two other Presidents exactly like Trump – in Russia and in the Philippines.

    • Oli1023

      Uh, please stop spreading misinformation. Personality disorders are clinically recognized as mental illnesses, and are all detailed in the DSM-V.

  • He BGB

    So many jokes about Mr Trump but the longer he goes on the worse it will get. And the Republican senators and Congress people are just looking the other way, saying, yes, it’s terrible and we will get to it but first let me get this gay discrimination I mean religious freedom bill pushed through. Ain’t it bad that his staff members are in cahoots with Russia? Well, right now I need to get that expensive bridge built in my state, maybe tomorrow. Well, we are better off than we were with Obama, let me stick my head in the sand again….

    • Jack Meoff

      I have long thought that republicans are just using him to get into power and to get his signature on the least possible bills etc that they want to pass so that when he is gone they can blame the back lash and subsequent consequences on him. He will be their scapegoat.

  • Mo Bro

    Well, he’s certainly bound to resign now.
    Keep tryin’, guys, keep tryin’.

    • Bob LaBlah

      Wouldn’t it be ironic if he went to prison instead of Hillary? Be patient. Karma is a bitch.

    • DCguy

      Your comment is meaningless.

  • OzJosh

    The word everyone is dancing around is “sociopath”. Trump meets every one of the key indicators. What’s more, sociopaths are very often highly successful, since they have none of the social brakes that people with empathy and morals have. A high number are businessmen, politicians or con men. Trump is all three.

    • davidkohl

      Narcissistic personality disorder and ‘sociopath’ are very often linked, and indeed can be a valid description for Trump. ‘Sociopath’ is just a replacement word for what we used to call ‘psychopath’. In the public imagination ‘psychopath’ is linked with some crazed serial killer type person – but most psychoipaths, or now sociopaths, are not crazed serial killers. They are the next door neighbour, the wife beater, the abusive businessman, the arrogant politician. In essence – the psychopath – sociopath – narcissist terms and all interchangeable to a large degree. Whatever term you choose, it amounts to the same thing – you have a very unstable President with his fingers on the nuclear button. And though he would be prevented from any rash moves in that direction, he can, and will, cause lots of trouble and pain in other areas. The attacks on the judiciary and the media should worry everyone – it is a deliberate ploy to undermine democracy, free speech and the separation of powers. Even for us non-Americans Trump is very bad news.

  • Chris

    Any clinician who makes a clinical diagnosis without doing a complete and thorough evaluation that follows diagnostic protocols should be hauled up before their licensing board on ethics charges, if nothing else. I dislike Trump viscerally and am alarmed by his actions. But in no way, shape, or form should psychiatrists be “diagnosing” him on the basis of what they see on TV and/or what others report about the man. That is, simply put, malpractice.

    • 1EqualityUSA

      would he be buckled to a gurney with a face mask locked down over his mouth during these sessions?

    • davidkohl

      It is reasonable for people to comment on the behaviour of those in power. Also, quite often psychiatric or psychological diagnosis can be reasonably, and accurately, done under the circumstances you outline, particularly where it is not possible to spend hours or days talking to and observing the individual.
      In this case the individual has made many utterances and behaved in such a way that it is not unreasonable for those with the relevant experience to comment and point out the possible dangers.
      It is time for anti-Trump majority to stop trying to play by the rules that he himself ignores. Stop being reasonable. You cannot have a reasonable conversation or dealings with such an unreasonable man.

    • DCguy

      Actually this is false. Therapistso constantly are used by police forces or other organizations to give insight into any disorder somebody may have based upon their actions and behavior. Trump’s actions and behavior are on camera for all to see.

      But nice try.

  • jckfmsincty

    “When fascism comes to America, it will be wearing the flag and carrying a cross.” – Sinclair Lewis

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