Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017
The hotest NON-CLINICAL PSYCHIATRIC story of the year
The hottest non-clinical story in psychiatry by far was the Trump Goldwater rule controversy. This pitted the American Psychiatric Association leaders against some of their own preeminent members, the American Psychoanalytic Association, and hundreds if not thousands of other mental health professionals including Robert Jay Lifton and Phillip Zimbardo who believed they had an ethical responsibility to warn that Trump suffered from a constellation of immutable personality characteristics which made him unfit, even dangerous, to be president.
There certainly were other stories, here’s the list from the email newsletter Psychiatric Times - I include it here having read numerous comments on articles which dismiss, even disparage, psychiatry as a pseudoscience and worse. One of the authors cited below is Ronald Pies who wrote Inside the minds of Trump’s ‘true believers’
From the lead New York Times story:
From TRUMP, A YEAR
Trump has discarded the conventions and
norms established by his predecessors. Will
that change the institution permanently?
...He has appealed to base instincts on race, religion and gender as no president has in generations. And he has rattled the nuclear saber more bombastically than it has been since the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
|In case you missed it.|
… Mr. Trump to construct and promote his own narrative, one with crackling verve but riddled with inaccuracies, distortions and outright lies, according to fact checkers.
…. “Trump is arguing that we need to take care of my enemies. I really can’t think of any precedent.”
…. He is testing the proposition that a president can still effectively remake the country without securing or even seeking a broader mandate.
… But he has bristled at the restraints imposed on the presidency as few have, lashing out at judges, lawmakers, investigators and journalists who anger him and expressing frustration that he is not supposed to use the F.B.I. as he sees fit.
…. Presidents are human, too, a blend of varying degrees of idealism, generosity, empathy, ambition, ego, vanity, jealousy and anger, but they generally hide their unvarnished traits behind an official veneer. Call it decorum, call it presidential. Mr. Trump essentially calls it fake, making no effort to pretend to be above it all, except to boast that he is stronger, richer, smarter and more successful than anyone else. To him, the presidency is about winning, not governing.
… Mr. Trump repeatedly jumps the guardrails that his predecessors heeded.
… He called various targets of his ire “crazy,” “psycho,” “short and fat,” “crooked,” “totally inept,” “a joke,” “dumb as a rock,” “disgusting,” “puppet,” “weak and out of control,” “sleazy,” “wacky,” “totally unhinged,” “incompetent,” “lightweight” and “the dumbest man on television.” Among others.
…. Mr. Trump’s decisions, announced over Twitter, often seem like spur-of-the-moment reactions to something he has seen on television.
…. Over 72 hours, Mr. Trump had nonetheless demonstrated that he had brought his personal mottos, “always get even” and “hit back harder than you were hit,” to the White House.
…. “This is a man, Trump, who has no compunctions about attacking people in ways that diminish the office of the president.”
…. “Trump is at war, but I don’t think he’s thought through the war,” he said. “This is not healthy when a president bashes certain institutions or questions the motivations of certain people, though some probably deserve it. Nor is it healthy when the media and the elite question the president’s very character.”
… “The good news is he’s been so incompetent and he’s got such a short attention span.//
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2017
Trump’s Sea of Love:
Friday, Dec. 29, 2017
Main Stories - fallout from the NY Times interview:
Excerpt: …. you have to read the whole interview to really get it. This simply is not a man in full control of his mental faculties. He’s always been narcissistic and blowhardish, but over the course of the interview he’s completely unable to stay focused on a topic for even a few seconds. He veers off into his Electoral College win constantly. He stops to insist there’s no Russian collusion at least a dozen times. He displays no knowledge of anything. It’s like talking to a third-grader.
I’m always moving. I’m moving in both directions. We have to get rid of chainlike immigration, we have to get rid of the chain. The chain is the last guy that killed. … [Talking with guests.] … The last guy that killed the eight people. … [Inaudible.] … So badly wounded people. … Twenty-two people came in through chain migration. Chain migration and the lottery system. They have a lottery in these countries. They take the worst people in the country, they put ‘em into the lottery, then they have a handful of bad, worse ones, and they put them out. ‘Oh, these are the people the United States. …” … We’re gonna get rid of the lottery, and by the way, the Democrats agree with me on that. On chain migration, they pretty much agree with me.
I was struck by two of the photos of Trump in this NY Times article.
|Click image to read article - NY Times subscription may be necessary|
|Click image to enlarge|
|Click image to enlarge|
Psychological studies and evolutionary biology show that an overconfidence and brash leadership style is both dangerous—and can work.I have a small army of about 5,000 contributors to a Duty to Warn Facebook group about Trump locating articles I miss with my own Google search and my own perusal of the Internet every morning. Sometimes it takes adding a new word to Trump in a Google search to discover more material about Trump’s personality. For example here’s what comes up when you search Trump and erratic:
|Click above to search|
Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017
From the Trenches: Letters to Local Papers:
Lies, Self-Deception, and Malignant Narcissism by Stephen Diamond, PhD, in Psychology Today (Oct. 17, 2017)
Weds., Dec. 27, 2017
Trump’s 60 Worst Tweets For Diagnostic purposes only
Narcissism Runs: Wild Dept.
Trump rams greatness down our throats Washington Post (More about the Ego Coin)
In this holiday season, a familiar question arises: Is President Trump trying to undermine democracy, or is he just irredeemably vain?
It’s a toss of the coin — specifically, Trump’s commemorative “Challenge Coin,” which just had its public debut.
Typically, these coins are simple copper-and-silver designs with the presidential seal and signature. But Trump’s is thicker, bright gold and with a built-in stand. Beyond the garish presentation, it defaces the presidential seal: The eagle looks right instead of left, it no longer holds the 13 arrows representing the original states, and the national motto — “E pluribus unum,” which translates to “ Out of many, one” — is gone. Instead, both sides of the coin display Trump’s campaign motto, “Make America Great Again,” and his name appears four times.
a Christmas video, Trump briefly captured the meaning of the day when he spoke of renewing “the bonds of love and goodwill between our citizens.” But even in this message, he managed to find division. He highlighted the belief that the Old Testament prophet Isaiah prophesied that Jesus would be the Messiah. Jews dispute that interpretation.
'Little entitled brats': Tiffany and Ivanka Trump blow kisses in bikinis but Twitter can't help cringing
Signs of diminished brain function:
Desus and Mero Discuss Donald Trump's Strange Relationship with Water
Here's what happens when a Diet Coke fanatic switches to tap.
|It isn’t a satire, click image above.|
Duty to Warn founder Dr. John Gartner and Rachel Montgomery wrote about them:
From his obsession with “the haters and losers” to his episodes of mania and delusion, it’s all there on TwitterNow his Tweets could get help Trump impeached:
|Sr. Fellow Brookings, CNN Commentator & Chair CREW. Former US Amb. Prague & Obama WH Ethics Czar.|
I try mightily to get his attention with my own Tweets. Alas, to no avail…
Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017
From Business Daily Africa a psychiatrist weighs on on Trump:
Dec. 25, 2017
This is from a website called Brinkwire. My disagreement is posted in the one and only comment.
Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017
Sat. Dec. 23, 2017
|This is the current Medal of Freedom, click to enlarge. Loose the|
stars and put a portrait of Trump? Why not?
Trump’s insatiable need for praise would be cartoonish were it not symptomatic of malignant narcissism. Consider:
Trump Gives Presidential Challenge Coin a Makeover, and It Shows (NY Times) "The Washington Post reported that the coin may soon be handed out to supporters and campaign donors in addition to military service members."
What’s big and shiny and gold and features Donald J. Trump’s name splashed across the front? No, it’s not a new development on the West Side of Manhattan. It’s the redesigned presidential challenge coin.
A custom dating back 20 years, presidential challenge coins have traditionally been handed out to service members in commemoration of special achievements and milestones. President Trump’s coin, which many saw on Friday for the first time, is unmistakably different from its predecessors.
Gone is the national motto, E pluribus unum, meaning “out of many, one.” In its place appears the president’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” which the administration has also used on official White House documents.
The traditional presidential seal has been replaced by an eagle looking rightward, with President Trump’s signature beneath it. Instead of holding the customary 13 arrows representing the original states, or an olive branch, the eagle is perched behind a red, white and blue shield, with 13 stars around its wings.
Many social media users expressed outrage, calling the coin “tacky” and a disgrace.
Wait, wait, there’s more: New pro-Trump PAC ad thanks Trump 'for letting us say Merry Christmas again’
Why Mental Health Is A Poor Measure Of A President (Note: I post links even when I disagree with the premise conclusions of the article)
Weaknesses of the Narcissistic Leader
Another major article from U.S. News and World Report, which was the first major magazine to publish a story (called “Temperament Tantrum” by senior writer Susan Milligan) about Trump’s fitness for office on Jan. 27, 2017:
We're Having the Wrong Debate on Trump's Mental Health (or are we? HB)
Under Trump, George Orwell’s Dystopian Nightmare Arrives a Few Decades Later than “1984?” Blue Virginia
Here’s one I missed, from Sept. 6th. I try to find all articles referencing Trump’s mental health and make sure they are archived here. This is an interview with psychiatrist Allen Francis who takes credit for writing the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-5.
He’s the psychiatrist who has said unequivocally that Trump does not meet the criteria for NPD because his symptoms are not bothersome to him. I managed to contact him by email to discuss why he won’t accept the diagnosis of malignant narcissism instead, and he said it was a closed subject with him.
His contention is that Trump isn’t mad, he’s bad. What he seems not to be willing to accept is that Trump is both mad and bad. He thinks that "Trump is a mirror on our soul and this is a shock treatment kind of moment where we should be wondering about ourselves."
He is also among a group of mental health professionals who have said that to suggest Trump is mentally ill stigmatizes those who are struggling with psychiatric disorders.
He has recently published a bookTwilight of American Sanity: A Psychiatrist Analyzes the Age of Trump and is definitely not pro-Trump. He says he began to write the book two years ago and never thought Trump would be president.
Perry Wilson and Allen Frances discuss the president as a mirror on America's soul
|The American Prospect is a daily online and quarterly print American political and public policy magazine dedicated to American liberalism and progressivism. Based in Washington, D.C., The American Prospect says it aims "to advance liberal and progressive goals through reporting, analysis, and debate about today's realities and tomorrow's possibilities."|
Weds. Dec. 20, 2017
A reader fact checked the story below. In fact it is recycled from a September 2016 conspiracy story. Infowars host Alex Jones devoted a segment to what he described as the revelation of a plot to kill Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In truth, the segment was a re-airing of a commentary that same day on Russian state television by host Dmitry Kiselyov
Here’s the Alex Jones video.
The insane part of this is that we have to wonder how Trump, known to read Alex Jones and presumably to have talked to him on the phone at least once, will react to this. I doubt Trump is in the throws of a psychotic delusional state, but there are times when his reality testing is suspect. I doubt he will believe the gut instinct of Alex Jones, but the mere fact that I am wondering about this gives me pause.
|Lloyd Russell: Trump's narcissism keeps him from accepting his deep unpopularity|
Though the Electoral College gave Trump the election, his debilitating narcissism prevents him from accepting the fact he lost the popular vote. This makes him even crazier. Though Trump and his reactionary cronies can't currently use Jim Crow's literacy tests, poll taxes and physical threats, they still ...
'America First' could make us the worst
The worrisome departure is Trump himself because he feels obligated to insult world leaders and provoke international conflict using his Twitter feed based on the whims of his all-consuming narcissism. "America First", in Trump's worldview, is markedly different than what the staffers in his administration ...
The delusional continue to insist that Trump is a great friend to the LGBT community
Trump's secretary of energy, Rick Perry has a history of campaigning for office by demonstrating that he was anti-LGBT. A number of Trump's nominations to the federal bench have extensive records of animus towards the LGBT community. Trump's narcissism was evident after the Pulse Nightclub ...
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017
Trump blasted after inviting NRA boss for White House Christmas party on anniversary of Sandy Hook mass shooting - (Just saying)
From the U.K: Trump sparks fresh dementia concerns after he drinks small glass of water with two hands like a child - just days after he slurred his words during Jerusalem speech
- Twitter went into meltdown on Monday after the president took an awkward swig of water while unveiling his new national security strategy
- Trump cradled the glass in both hands, like a young child, for the sip
- Move sparked concerns Trump may have a serious degenerative disorder which can cause shaky hands
- Sandra F Woodward wrote that Trump 'holds that water glass like my 3 year old grandson. I really think Trump has dementia and is reverting 2 childhood action'
- 'His motor skills are degenerating,' added Joseph Fedorko
- In November, he picked up a bottle of Fiji water in both hands and sipped it awkwardly during a press conference at the White House
- And earlier this month, speculation was rife after Trump began slurring through part of his speech announcing changes to America's Israel policy
|Click above for article|
Monday, Dec. 18, 2017
|You may be directed to a link to subscribe before you can read this.|
Personal Bias Should Not Rule Health Policy
Excerpt: Until those next signs emerge, Trump is boasting to friends and advisers that he expects Mueller to clear him of wrongdoing in the coming weeks, according to sources familiar with the conversations. The President seems so convinced of his impending exoneration that he is telling associates Mueller will soon write a letter clearing him that Trump can brandish to Washington and the world in a bid to finally emerge from the cloud of suspicion that has loomed over the first chapter of his presidency, the sources said.
We’ve read much this before, but
here’s what an article in The Christian Post has to say about Trump’s fitness to serve:
This article begins noting the recent polling which showed that "Fifty-one percent of believe that Trump is "mentally unbalanced," while 44 percent said that they think the president is "mentally stable" and 5 percent said they were "not sure.” It then goes on to explain what Tony Schwartz (Art of the Deal author) and pundit Andrew Sullivan has said.
|Click to enlarge - Note: It took him 10 minutes|
before his thoughts and prayers
(yeah, right, like he has such human reactions)
the “presidential” Tweet went out. HuffPost
has a story on this.
Duty to Warn’s Bandy Lee, editor best seller “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump” is quoted, including: "Just some of the signs that have raised red flags include: verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and the taunting of hostile nations with nuclear power. Specific traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality and poor understanding of consequences, a lack of empathy and belligerence toward others, rage reactions and a constant need to demonstrate power. Such traits interfere with the ability to think rationally, to take in needed information or advice, to weigh consequences and to make sound, logical decisions based on reality,”
Where the article is different from many others posted on this website is that it presents the opinions of several prominent people who have different opinions:
Danielle Pletka, senior vice president of of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, responded by saying that she thinks Republicans are "going to keep talking privately about the president."CIA Director Mike Pompeo called such claims “absurd” interesting only because he may actually have his own suspicions about Trump’s collusion with Russia.
"But I think it serves nobody to stand up and say, 'I think the president's crazy.' He's the president of the United States. And that kind of thing is just, there's no political upside for Republicans, because then the next question is, 'Okay, you think he's crazy, you think he's on drugs, you think there's something wrong with him?'" she said. "These are all the whispers we hear in Washington. Then the next question is, 'So what are you going to do about it?' And the answer is, from them is, 'We don't want to do anything about it.'"
Susan Collins gave a lawyerly response when asked: "First of all, let me say my conversations with the president have given me no reason to be concerned in that regard.” In other words, she only said she hasn’t observed signs of mental illness while talking with the president.
As would be expected hard-core Trump supporters Mollie Hemingway and Peter Roff think the entire question is part of an anti-Trump conspiracy.
"It is a campaign based on anonymous leaks, so it is very hard to determine how much to take seriously," Hemingway, a senior editor at The Federalist, said. "In general, it is people who haven't accepted the reality of Donald Trump winning the election who are making this claim. ... Nobody should be evaluating each other's mental health, particularly not people who are still struggling to accept reality a year after it happened. "
Peter Roff, a contributing editor to US News & World Report, wrote in an op-ed that the claims of mental instability are seemingly part of a "consistent effort to undermine presidential legitimacy" that "has hardened the partisan divisions in the country."
Reminding us that historians are thinking of the 25th Amendment solution, here's an article from The George Washington University History News Network trying to answer this question:
When (and if) Donald J. Trump leaves office – via impeachment, criminal indictment and conviction, resignation, or the 25th amendment – Mike Pence, his Vice President will become President. Mike Pence does not have a secret agenda – he is all out there: “My Christian faith is at the very heart of who I am,” he said during one of the vice presidential debates. And he means that. Welcome to Christian Theocracy.
The Daily Beast begins this article,
"President Donald Trump increasingly believes that he is surrounded by enemies intent on his political destruction."This could be written about many or most presidents in the modern era, in fact, probably most since the Founding Fathers. Certainly Obama, Bush 1 and 2, and Clinton were surrounded by enemies bent on their political destruction. This comes with the job.
Most Duty to Warn therapists think that Trump, at the very, least resides in the shadow area between having a persecution complex, not a particular unusual array of disturbing beliefs with insecure people, and his being close to having a delusional paranoid disorder.
The key to defining the psychiatric significance of paranoid-leaning (in the 1950’s and ’60’s we’d use the term neurotic) and a person having outright paranoid beliefs is how real the beliefs are, and how rationally a person responds to them.
If Trump is becoming paranoid to the extent that he is highly suspicious of the motives of people in his inner circle who are, in reality, totally supportive of him and just trying to giving him helpful advice he doesn’t want to hear, this moves the needle closer to the delusional disorder side.
With what shrinks call a “full-blown” paranoid delusional disorder, Trump would not only feel strong anxiety over people plotting against him, but he’d hear auditory hallucinations expressing these opinions.
In most instances a face-to-face psychological assessment would be required to determine this unless he decompensated on live-TV. All competent clinicians with experience doing diagnostic evaluations with those who might be psychotic or suffering from Parkinson’s hallucinations, dissociative disorder, or dementia are adept at picking up the signs that their patient is hearing an inner voice.
Trump is certainly prone to believing the conspiracy theories he read, or perhaps hears on the phone, from the likes of Alex Jones.
At this juncture we Duty to Warn therapists, and now experts on organic disorders such as dementia, have grave concerns about whether Trump is mentally fit to be president.