On Tuesday, American psychiatrists, psychologist, and mental health experts signed a letter warning about Trump’s mental health. They believe that Trumps’ emotional instability is reflected in his speeches and actions, and therefore he is not capable of serving safely as a president.
A lot of people have questioned President Trump’ mental health. The concern has even gotten to the Congress, where representatives have considered proposing legislation that would require a psychiatrist in the White House. As well, NGOs, such as Change.org, have started petitions to remove Trump from the office given his mental condition.
“We fear that too much is at stake to be silent” was stated by the letter signed by 35 mental health experts for the New York Times. “We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president”, it continued.
Trump is a narcissist and a paranoid
Despite the self-imposed ethic rules that forbids psychiatrists from offering professional opinion regarding public figures they have not personally analyzed, a group of mental health experts – including psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers – have gotten together to sign the letter, which intended to warn about the viability of Trump as a president because of his apparent mental health problems. The experts also called for a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by impartial investigators.
This is not the first time that Trump’s mental stability has been put into question. This month, Representative Ted Lieu, a Californian Democrat, said that he was considering proposing the legislation to have a White House psychiatrist. In December, three prominent psychiatry professors wrote a letter that said that President Trump’s impulsivity, hypersensitivity to criticisms, or insults alongside his inability to distinguish fantasy from reality could serve as an evidence of his mental instability. The letter was published in the Huffington Post.
Another article titled “Temperament Tantrum” was issued by the US News and World Report. In it, a practicing physiologist explained that President Trump has a malignant narcissism, which is characterized by grandiosity, sadism, and antisocial behavior. As well, a Change.org petition started by psychologist John Gartner has been signed by 20,000 people already. The petition calls for Trump to resign because of his mental illness which makes him unfit to perform the duties conferred by the Constitution to a president.
Bad behavior and mental illness are not the same things
The letter was signed by the 35 mental health experts because they consider it a way to warn and protect the country from someone whose mental stability might put the US in a dangerous position.
On the other hand, Allen Frances, a recognized psychiatrist at Duke University School of Medicine, wrote another letter to the New York Times to denounce the attempts of these experts to diagnose President Trump as mentally ill. Frances, who helped write the standard manual of psychiatric disorders, said that bad behavior is not a synonym for mental illness. According to Frances, Trump lacks the distress and impairment needed to diagnose him as mentally ill. However, he said that he must be pointed out for other things such as his pursuit of dictatorial power.
“Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy,” explained Frances, “he can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.”
Are experts using their knowledge as a political weapon?
This is not the first time a person in politics has been pointed out for his mental instability. It occurred, for instance, with Senator Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964. Even members of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) said that he was “paranoid,” “grossly psychotic,” or “schizophrenic” back then.
However, people might wonder if it is ok for mental experts to give such opinions. Some think that even if they have the rule of not giving such statements about a public person that hasn’t been their patient, that does not mean that they should remain silent. They can share their knowledge for educational purposes.
In Goldwater’s case, he sued and won the case. As a result, the APA developed the Goldwater Rule in 1973. This rule states that even though psychiatrist can discuss mental health issues with the media, it is unethical to diagnose a person they have not examined and whose consent they have not been given to do so. Therefore, it is alright if mental health experts talk about the symptoms of the narcissism or even about Trump’s character, as a person that doesn’t tolerate criticism. However, it would not be quite alright if they say that Trump has narcissistic personality disorders. This way, mental health experts’ knowledge cannot be used as a political weapon.
Diagnosis requires a full examination of the patient, including details of his life and relevant clinical data, which have not been provided by Trump yet.
Source: The New York Times