Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psychology. Show all posts

January 28, 2023

Desperate for uplifting news, look for advances in medicine. Here's one about treating depression.

 Desperate for uplifting news, look for advances in medicine. Here's one about treating depression
By Hal Brown, MSW,
retired psychotherapist and mental health center director

The photo used in the article had a stone wall as a background. I changed it for an illustration used in another article for this blog.

Most, perhaps all, of the readers of my political stories, have to cope with varying levels of anxiety and depression over the future of our country. I don't have to spell out what we are afraid of. 

One article in the website NeuroscienceNews.com tells us what we already know:

When Chronic Stress Activates These Neurons, Behavioral Problems Like Loss of Pleasure and Depression Result


To use a non-scientific word, this is a bummer.

When there's another revelation that makes you want to scream in outrage or hide your head under a blanket, for just one example, this story from yesterday's HUFFPOST:

Right-Wing Media, Top Republican Team Up To Push Racist Conspiracy Theory About Ex-Biden Aide, if you look for them you will find inspiring news that has nothing to do with politics.

I've been writing about the pleasure in the misfortune of other, or schadenfreude, I feel when MAGA's like Trump, Taylor Greene, Devolder-Santos, and hapless Kevin McCarthy who has to sleep on the spiky mattress bed he's made for himself, and find they've stepped in either a bear-trap or a pile of shit.

There is perverse pleasure in following the misfortune of these despicable characters. The German word for this experience is schadenfreude. I've used this word in two recent blogs: More Schadenfreude: John Bolton, Trump, and DeSantis for President and  Santos leads the GOP in eliciting Schadenfreude, no doubt more to come.

There's all kinds of good news in addition to political news eliciting a feeling of schadenfreude. I follow news about advances in other kinds of science besides medicine. Our knowledge of psychics and the cosmos is increasing at a furious rate but while this often fascinates it doesn't directly effect my life or the lives of the people I care about.

It is what we are learning about medicine that affects each of us most directly. We all know about the advances which hopefully be coming within a year for developing better vaccines and treatments to fight against Covid, a disease those lucky enough not have had it know any day we could have a symptom that prompts us to take the test and discover we have been infected. 

Those of us who follow medical news closely know advances are being made treating or slowing the progress of demential and Alzheimer's. There are early promising clinical trials being started for cancer treatments.

The ailment that is the most closely related to politics is depression, often associated with anxiety. 

If someone already has clinical depression they could be living in the glory days of the Obama administration or JFK's Camelot and they'd still be depressed.
For someone who already struggles with depression dealing with the news about what the GOP is hellbent of turning the government and the country into causes anxiety. Anxiety is always stressful. It leads to worry and worry easily worsens existing clinical depression and for those not already clinically depressed it can be the cause of clinical depression.

There are a number of old treatments for depression that have proved effective including a number of anti-depressant medications, newer medications, and cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy. A treatment that has gained in popularity since it was introduced in 2008 is Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

Studies show that almost 15 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from severe depression. I don't have numbers for how many suffer from mild to moderate depression but even periods of mild depression can lead to a drastic change in how someone experiences their life.

Consider the dates on the following chart and note that happened in 2016 when Trump was elected:






Now for the good news that led me to write this.
 
You can say this isn't breaking news in that it comes from October, 2022. However, it is really new news because I haven't seen it reported in the mainstream media. It tells us that a promising avenue of research has been opened. It is also new news if it is new to you.

A Drug That Increases Dopamine Can Reverse the Effects of Inflammation on the Brain in Depression - Neuroscience News

The drug being studied for depression in Levodopa, often called L-DOPA. To say it has been around for a long time is an understatement. If you saw the Robin Williams and Robert DeNiro movie "Awakenings" (based on a 1970 book with the same name by Oliver Sacks) this was the drug used to "awaken" the patient played by DeNiro.

The drug was first studied in the 1950's. Two Nobel Prizes were awarded to the scientists who developed it. (Read more on Wiki)

There are lots of ways to deal with our anxiety and depression and the tole it takes on our quality of life. Recognizing that there is help available and not feeling stigma if you consider seeking it is certainly crucial. Since you're reading this blog you're not likely to be a macho MAGA asswipe who calls liberals who get counseling and therapy snowflakes

If liberals are snowflakes, or overly sensitive, the MAGA's who call them that are insensitive bullies throwing iceballs with rocks in them. (I remember one snowball fight at the school playground where some kids who thought they were tough guys put rocks in their snowballs.)

Dear fellow snowflakes, please be proud that you have feelings and empathy and all the other traits that make you a decent person. Take care of yourself. And when things are really looking dismal - whether from the world of politics to mass shootings to police violence, do what works for you to lessen your stress.

If taking a time out from the news words, do that. Take time to appreciate your family, nature, and indulge yourself in uplifting streaming video like one of our favorites, the Canadian series Heartland. Try something new that you've been putting off doing like joining a yoga group or exercising more. I'm lucky enough to have a pool where I live so I am trying to get into a swimming routine.

Try to remember that there are talented dedicated people, heroes really, who are working their damnedest to help us make our lives better. Those who come to mind most frequently make the news. 

While a few scientists like Dr. Fauci make the news there are countless researchers like those referenced in the article about L-DOPA who also are working tirelessly to benefit not only us, but humanity.

You can following breaking news in various areas in medicine by subscribing to or looking at Neuroscience News, Medscape, Psychiatric Times, and PLOS.

Some of these articles have technical titles like

Functional connectivity in reward circuitry and symptoms of anhedonia as therapeutic targets in depression with high inflammation: evidence from a dopamine challenge study. This may account for the reason that the mainstream media doesn't report on them. They may include terms like anhedonia which basically means reduced motivation, reduced anticipatory pleasure (wanting), reduced consummatory pleasure (liking).  This includes eating, touching a loved one, and engaging in sexual interactions. It happens to be the name of a movie.

January 26, 2023

Medical Mysteries: Diagnose Trump and Santos

 Medical Mysteries: Diagnose Trump and Santos
By Hal Brown, MSW, Retired psychotherapist and mental health center director

I subscribe to a medical newsletter which regularly has a "medical mystery" article which has a quiz of sorts where a patient is described with a list of presenting problems and symptoms. Then the reader goes through a number of pages which asks questions as to what the reader thinks the diagnosis is. The New Yorker may not be publishing these anymore, but they used to have articles about medical mysteries where a  patient presented with unusual symptoms and the quest to determine the rare disorder was described.

Now we have two politicians who present a psychiatric diagnostic conundrum. 

Trump was the easiest until recently. Numerous mental health professionals went public explaining how he fit the (unofficial) diagnostic criteria for being a malignant narcissist. By now I should have the link to this Wikipedia entry memorized having posted it so often in my articles.

Today we have two Raw Story articles related to Trump's mental health:

Click above to read

George Conway isn't a mental health professional and may or may not be using the reference to losing touch with reality colloquially or clinically. Perhaps he means them both way since he has demonstrated that he's psychologically very well informed. Not being in touch with reality, that is being able to differentiate what is real from what isn't real (called "reality testing") is a hallmark of someone who is on the verge of having a psychotic episode or already being psychotic. 

This summarized an article in the conservative National Review:

Click above to read

Consider this excerpt:

National Review columnist Charles C.W. Cooke believes that former President Donald Trump has been more unhinged than usual, and his latest essay examines what he describes as Trump's "deterioration" as observed through his Truth Social posts.

Cooke describes Trump as "ranting like a deranged hobo in a dilapidated public park" and he notes that his Truth Social posts are loaded with esoteric references that only his diehard fans can even begin to understand.

Note the words unhinged and deranged both of which are slang for someone who is be psychotic. The message being conveyed here is that his behavior has worsened to the point he may be veering into psychosis.

HUFFPOST had this article about the Cooke piece in The Wall Street Journal and offered this excerpt:

“There was a point in time at which Trump’s unusual verbal affect and singular nose for underutilized wedge issues gave him a competitive edge. Now? Now, he’s morphing into one of the three witches from Macbeth. To peruse Trump’s account on Truth Social is to meet a cast of characters about whom nobody who lives beyond the Trump Extended Universe could possibly care one whit.”

I used up my last free Wall Street Journal click to read the article and noted the first sentence: "The former president’s deterioration is on full display in the Truth Social asylum he built for himself." The word deterioration is often used in psychiatry and in the same sentence with asylum it seems the writer is making the case that Trump is ready for the rubber room.

Here's how the WSJ article ends:

Throughout his public career, Trump has resembled nothing so much as a drunken talk-radio caller from Queens, and, on Truth Social, readers get the treat of watching him at the zenith of his rhetorical powers. Nobody — and I mean nobody — can shift gears as fast as Donald J. Trump. One moment he’s proposing that the solution to the Supreme Court leak is to “arrest the reporter, publisher, editor—you’ll get your answer fast,” or, if that fails, “put whoever in jail.” The next, he’s describing the prosecution of his business associate, Allen Weisselberg, as “the greatest Witch Hunt of all time.” His repertoire is unmatched — and unmatchable. He can do edgy insult comedy for the people listening in at the bar: “The reporter was a shaky & unattractive wack job, known as ‘tough’ but dumb as a rock.” He can make numbers up off the top of his head: “The change in the Election was Complete & Total, with Millions of votes switched, at least 17%.” He can use hyperbolic analogies: “Our Country is SICK inside, very much like a person dying of Cancer.” He can even do angry: “May he Rot In Hell!” He can do anything.

Anything, that is, except focus on the world outside — where the problems that Donald Trump once used to propel himself into the White House remain real and pressing, whether or not he chooses to engage with them.

Several times a week it seems there are news reports of Trump lying with no regard for, or not caring about, the bad publicity it will generate. For example: 

Click above for MSNBC story.

We know Trump is impulsive. We don't know if he has an impulse control disorder, or whether his impulsivity is part of another disorder.

In this age of QAnon and election denial there are so many people who believe things that are both irrational and false that researchers have looked into and discovered that the rates of people suffering from mental illness are much higher. than previously thought. Consider this article in The Conversation: 

Many QAnon followers report having mental health diagnoses

Back in 2020 I wrote 

What psychotherapists can't tell us about Donald Trump. Why does he lie? Will be become psychotic?

Hardly a day goes by that one or more Trump Truth Social posts make the news. Many of them are rants that come close to or cross the border between rationality and irrationality. 






As far as George Santos goes, just this morning there are the following articles on Raw Story:

Clockwise from left by first words in title: Bizarre, Complete Chaos, Man Listed, Critics rip.

Since putting together this story collage another Santos story went up on Raw Story:
Click above to read
Updates: 

George Santos made 'offensive' past joke about Hitler and 'The Jews': report




Posted Fri. Jan. 27:

George Santos appears to admit drag queen past in Wiki post

A user with the name Anthony Devolder wrote in 2011 that they won several drag pageants. Anthony Devolder is a Santos alias.


All of these articles paint a somewhat different picture of Santos but what they have in common is that they describe someone who, to be trite, just isn't normal.

Over my 40 years as a psychotherapist diagnosing uncountable patients I find Santos to be presenting a medical, or psychiatric if you prefer, mystery. Diagnostically the question about Trump and his diagnosis is easier because he has, probably since early adulthood, been a malignant narcissist. 

Currently the question, the mystery, is whether or not he is either becoming irrational because he is having narcissistic rage episodes (read article) or is becoming psychotic.

Santos may just be a stupid sociopath (now called anti-social personality):

Antisocial personality disorder, sometimes called sociopathy, is a mental disorder in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others. People with antisocial personality disorder tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others harshly or with callous indifference. They show no guilt or remorse for their behavior. Reference
Most addressing this in the general media seem to believe this is the case and don't go deeper by delving into other possible explanations for his behavior.

There are other possibilities. 

The first that comes to mind may be the least plausible but I think of it because of Hershel Walker. Walker wrote a book (probably ghost written) about how he overcame having a dissociative identity disorder, commonly called multiple personality disorder. I am skeptical about the truth of this but it does explain some of Walker's behavior. It also could explain some of Santos's behavior. While most common in women who were sexually abused as children, it conceivable that Santos actually has different personalities (called alters) some of who have amnesia for that the others do.

We do know that Santos, on the surface at least, is a serial liar since it isn't telling a lie if you don't remember doing something you really did. There's no official psychiatric diagnosis for being a serial liar. Like Trump, Santos has lied many times and paid no heed to the fact that his lies could easily be exposed as such. Of course if it was a horse race Trump would cross the finish line while Santos was just leaving the starting gate.

Santos could have a borderline personality disorder, also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder. This is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, distorted sense of self, and strong emotional reactions.Wikipedia

My sense is that there is evidence he has histrionic personality disorder. It is defined as a personality disorder characterized by a pattern of excessive attention-seeking behaviors, usually beginning in early childhood, including inappropriate seduction and an excessive desire for approval.Wikipedia

No matter what one might deign to diagnose either of these individuals as having Trump is exponentially more dangerous since his cult doesn't care whether he's batshit crazy or not.  Santos is a gift to Democrats. Read  Santos leads the GOP in eliciting Schadenfreude, no doubt more to come.

 Watch satire of supporters of George Santos from his home district explain why they support him:

January 9, 2023

If Trump believes some of his pronouncements he may be clinically delusional

 If Trump believes some of his pronouncements he may be clinically delusional
By Hal Brown, MSW



 

I am tired of writing about Trump's psychopathology. Today's HUFFPOST story "Trump Says Biden 'Convinced' Putin To Bomb Ukraine In Mar-a-Lago Campaign Speech" prompts me to write yet another blog story about the question as to just how mentally ill the beleaguered former president might have become. 

We know he's a malignant narcissist, but how can we tell whether he is veering into becoming a delusional psychotic? 

In half of my 40 year career as a psychotherapist I worked in a community mental health center. Most of the severely mentally ill patients I worked with had been stabilized on medication so I only had a few chances to see someone exhibiting the delusions that were manifest prior to being stabilized on medications. Those times I did see patients who weren't medicated their delusions were the more typical. Several patients off medication had religious delusions and another believed a movie star was in love with him to the extent he ended up at the airport trying to board a plane without a ticket to be with his lover in Hollywood.

When a clinician does a diagnostic assessment they evaluate the patient's rational thinking and reality testing. A simple mental status exam includes the following (reference):


    • Thought process
      The flow and coherence of thoughts, inferred from a client’s observable behaviors, especially speech. For example, if the client’s speech is rambling and disorganized, the examiner may infer that their thinking is also disorganized.
    • Thought content
      Thought content can be inferred from spontaneous speech and direct questioning by the examiner. For example, the examiner might ask, “Have you ever heard things other people don’t hear or seen things other people don’t see?” An answer of “yes” to such questions raises the possibility of hallucinatory thought content.
    • Insight
      How aware is the client of their own strengths and limitations?
    • Strengths and limitations
      Traditional forms of the MSE have been designed to record any cognitive, emotional, or behavioral deficits. 
      Consider how a clinician would fill out portions of a standard mental status form like this, in particular the parts below, for Trump:


Here's more 

Delusional disorder, previously called paranoid disorder, is a type of serious mental illness called a psychotic disorder. People who have it can’t tell what’s real from what is imagined.

Delusions are the main symptom of delusional disorder. They’re unshakable beliefs in something that isn’t true or based on reality. But that doesn’t mean they’re completely unrealistic. Delusional disorder involves delusions that aren’t bizarre, having to do with situations that could happen in real life, like being followed, poisoned, deceived, conspired against, or loved from a distance. These delusions usually involve mistaken perceptions or experiences. But in reality, the situations are either not true at all or highly exaggerated. From WebMd

Perhaps Trump is already so detached from reality that any mental health professional would diagnosis him as having a psychosis. There's no way to tell how much of his pronouncements are performances and what he really believes.

Anybody who truly cares about his well-being ought to be very concerned about his lapsing into a psychotic state. Consider what you would do if you had a loved one who was expressing some of the beliefs Trump has been expressing.

Those who consider him the leader of the GOP, those cult members who blindly follow him, should also ask themselves whether they are being led by someone who is so unmoored from reality that they may be clinically delusional.

Another question which researchers could well look into is whether someone who deliberately uses gaslighting (defined as manipulating someone so as to make them question their own reality) for their own purposes can eventually gaslight themselves.

Marjorie Taylor Greene as an example of a low information and gullible person as opposed to being delusional

Just yesterday Rep. Greene addressed her pervious belief in QAnon conspiracy theories:

Wanting to believe something is different than actually believing it. Consider the poster on the wall of the X Files' Fox Mulder's office:

If someone doesn't have the ability to apply logical thinking to beliefs like those promulgated by QAnon ( including that the Clintons were responsible for murders, that the Democratic Party was responsible for a satanic child sex trafficking ring and that the California wildfires were caused by space lasers owned by a Jewish family) and gets all their information from one-sided sources they are vulnerable to being manipulated. Nobody wants to admit they were gullible and, as MTG said, that they were "sucked into" believing something that any logical person wouldn't believe.

This doesn't mean they are clinically delusional. It may suggest that they have a low IQ but above average intelligence isn't a requirement for holding public office. 

If anyone running for a major political office had to have above a 120 IQ and pass a battery of psychological tests I venture to suggest that the GOP side of the House would look very different. To the delight of Democrats, the GOP itself wouldn't be having to deal with this guy:


Update:



Anonymous 


Ben Kalom replied on this site...


Thanks for blending in criteria. This helps secure our assertions that he is not mentally fit to hold any public office.

Mentally fit - I do not believe it matters whether genetics, experiences, trauma, parenting or personal choices have led us to this place of a fellow who simply blathers about in social media. He has no ability to filter. Delusional disorders is the correct section of DSM 5-TR to be reading and giving consideration. That section, in addition to considering his personality disorder cluster, should be the hub of any diagnostic conversation wheel we use to chat about how best to manage our feelings about him, vis-a-vis his repeated insistence on being vocal on social media.

There is a misperception of who might be considered "mentally ill." What I am referring to is the first defense he threw out to his crowd, "I'm rich!" Is there something about being wealthy that magically inoculates a person against mental disorder? I would offer the converse argument. Mo' money, mo' crazy. You need sage and sound counsel to help you manage your false-bottomed sense of total safety and security while living on this planet.

Donald simply does not know when to shut the f#$k up.

I am reminded of a training video in which Dr. Sal Minuchin was interviewing a patient with disorganized thinking. To characterize just how disturbing it is to the treatment professional to work with these folks day after day, Sal could not restrain himself and uttered, "What are you talking about??" in a most directive manner, hoping to encourage the client to get back on track.

In delusional disorder, there's no thesis, no theme, no specific argument, no path that gets to anywhere. It is walking with a person who is lost in the forest and then finds yet another distraction. Being lost is the entire point of their delusion. It is how they guard against the reality of life. Life breaks through their ordinary protections with ordinariness.

THat's much, much more than they can handle.

The warning we who study the disordered persons and the qualitative/quantitative means by which they've gotten into the swamp they are in, need to heed is in the sheer number of people who are also in that swamp with him, and who came to that swamp, expecting to find a country club swimming pool. His ability to hold them in a promise of prosperity has increased whatever disordered thinking and feeling these folks experienced prior to believing his siren song.

Crazy draws more crazy to itself. There's kinship in delusional status.

Is Donald delusional? I think I agree with that assertion, and I encourage other helpers and human services workers and professionals to see the dead poseys in the hands of their clients, and although you want to be kind and offer unconditional positive regard, keep the truth in your head that no matter what else you hear, those flowers are dead.

Donald is holding out dead flowers to his followers. That's what he's selling them. Dead flowers, purporting to re-animate them and make them alive again...

If you are a realist like I am, then you see how difficult it will be to convince folks who drank his dead flower tea to walk away from believing the delusional reality they've walked through the looking glass and entered.

Below from Tibel:

Click above to enlarge



December 24, 2022

Are Taylor Greene, Fuentes, and millions of Americans with fringe beliefs mentally ill?

Are Taylor Greene, Fuentes, and millions of Americans with fringe beliefs mentally ill? 
By Hal Brown, MSW

Marjorie Taylor Greene, on learning about the beliefs of Nick Fuentes the anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Black, antisemitic incel who dined with Trump said about him: “I’m worried about kids that would follow him. And that’s a shame. But no, I don’t want to have anything to do with him. They showed me some [of Fuentes'] videos. I could not believe the stuff he says. I mean, it was shocking.”

Read the article which led me to write this essay. It includes Taylor Greene's reaction shown above.

Click above to read article

Excerpts:

In January 2022, Fuentes launched Cozy.tv, a streaming platform that he said would be “anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-Black, [and] antisemitic.” A month after launching the platform, he said women aren't "as rational as men" and should be beaten by their partners. He added a racist twist by saying that Black men understand this...

... Fuentes has also said that he thinks future politicians should take an incel "message to the men and say, ‘Hey men, hey men, vote for me, I’ll destroy feminism [and] ... make it harder for women to become whores [and]... incentivize women to be in monogamous marriages for the long term and to have and raise kids.”

A year ago VICE listed every conspiracy Marjorie Taylor Greene believed in, or said she believed in. Nobody can tell what she and others with fringe beliefs that are demonstrably untrue really believe and what they claim to believe to get attention.

How many beliefs do such people, have to have to be diagnosed as having a delusional disorder or another psychiatric condition?

Consider this article published in The Conversation:

Excerpt:

I found that many QAnon followers revealed – in their own words on social media or in interviews – a wide range of mental health diagnoses, including bipolar disorderdepressionanxiety and addiction.

In court records of QAnon followers arrested in the wake of the Capitol insurrection, 68% reported they had received mental health diagnoses. The conditions they revealed included post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia and Munchausen syndrome by proxy – a psychological disorder that causes one to invent or inflict health problems on a loved one, usually a child, in order to gain attention for themselves. By contrast, 19% of all Americans have a mental health diagnosis.

Consider that in addition to Marjorie Taylor Greene and Nick Fuentes two more people in the news, Herschel Walker and very recently George Santos show indications of having a mental illness.

It bears consideration to note that until the MAGA era descriptive colloquial phrases like batshit crazy were't common in descriptions of people in the news. Now they are ubiquitous. Unfortunately using this phase and others like "clown car" and "cray-cray" in a title is clickbait and tells you that you probably won't be reading a serious analysis of someone by a mental health professional.

More serious writers define people with unshakable fringe beliefs as delusional. These days most but not all involve what have come to be called conspiracy theories.

My laptop dictionary has two definitions of delusional. They are very different:

  • characterized by or holding false beliefs or judgments about external reality that are held despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary, typically as a symptom of a mental conditionhospitalization for schizophrenia and delusional paranoia | he was diagnosed with a delusional disorder
  • based on or having faulty judgment; mistakentheir delusional belief in the project's merits never wavers | I think the guy is being a bit delusional here.
People who fall into the first group need treatment. People in the second group may benefit from re-education. Unfortunately many people in the later group belong to a peer group of people with the same beliefs, QAnon for example, and their only media source of information comes from the far-right media  which gives credence to conspiracy theories.I haven't even gotten into the promotion of The Big Lie which even Trump who started it never believed.

December 12, 2022

The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism

 The normalizing of delusional sociopathic grandiose narcissism
By Hal Brown

Archives on Right >


Select comments may be shared here. 

I was a practicing psychotherapist for 40 years before retiring, the first 20 of those I work as the director of a small mental health center. I have posted numerous articles online about the dangerous psychopathology of Donald Trump. 

There are myriad examples of people in the news who demonstrate by their behavior, their actions and words, that they, to put it bluntly, have one or all of their hinges so loose that if they were the door on the jam it would be hanging and about to fall.

Creative Commons Flickr

I don't have to tax my brain by coming up with a list of clinically deranged people in public life. Just a look at the stories on various websites will provide many examples. A Salon article by one of my favorite columnists, Amanda Marcotte, this morning offers a list of five:

Of course these five are just losers even though Trump could actually become president again. We still have winners like Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Loren Boebert who are still in the House and now that the GOP controls it have even more power.

From Elon Musk whose unhingedness knows no bounds as he just yesterday tweeted "My pronouns are Prosecute/Fauci, a sentiment supported by said Rep. Greene who is saying that if she was in charge of the January 6th attack on the Capitol the crowd would have been armed (something that could end her in front of a grand jury), to Ye and Herschel Walker (who I wrote about here) 

There are enough people to be analyzed for in a PhD dissertation titled "Abnormal psychology as manifest in people in public life."

In some ways it is more disturbing to know that there are so many ordinary citizens who embrace the Big Lie and the conspiracy lunacy of QAnon. There are uncountable millions people not just in this country but around the world who, if objectively assessed by mental health professionals, would be diagnosed with one or more psychiatric conditions listed in the DSM-5.
There are several hundred diagnostic categories in the DSM  and new ones are periodically added, for example:

  • Binge Eating Disorder.
  • Caffeine Withdrawal.
  • Cannabis Withdrawal.
  • Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder- DMDD.
  • Hoarding Disorder.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder – PMDD.
 "According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about one in five adults lives with a mental disorder (any mental illness in the US, and about one in 18 American adults has a serious mental illness. Some psychiatric conditions may be temporary, occur occasionally, and never return again." Reference includes entire list.

It should be obvious that most people with psychiatric disorders actually suffer, thus the term "suffering from" one or another disorder. There are other people who don't suffer themselves. They make  people in their lives including family, friends, and co-workers, suffer. Just consider the number of books about being married to a narcissist.

Of all of these the two most relevant disorders to consider when looking at the people I am writing about are what is now called antisocial personality disorder but is often referred to by the previous name, sociopathic disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Some people meet enough of the criteria for having both and would be considered to be malignant narcissists. This diagnosis never made it into then DSM but in my opinion and the opinion of many mental health professionals including, notably, Dr. John D. Gartner, the founder of the Duty to Warn society, Donald Trump has this disorder. Gartner wrote about this in 2017:
If any single person could be described as causing an extreme and dangerous mental pathology as becoming normalized it is Donald Trump.

Gartner is, as far as I know, the only mental health professional critical of Trump to appear on Fox News. In 2017 he was on "Watters World" in an interview which, to put it mildly, did not go well. Here's the video:


Full disclosure: Dr. Gartner and I have had a relationship since the formation of his Duty to Warn society. 

Currently the media, with some notable exceptions like MSNBC which regularly has clinical psychologist Mary Trump on and others experts discussing Donald Trump, reports the behavior of Trump and people like those mentioned above as if it is normal. 

I have followed the media closely since 2017 to see whether any mainstream publications addressed the issue of public figures like Trump, Taylor-Greene, Herschel Walker by interviewing mental health experts. 

Salon stands out for having Chauncey DeVega who often publishes interviews with mental health experts like psychiatrist Lance Dodes like "Trump is a dangerous sociopath — but he's sane enough to stand trial" and Psychiatrist Bandy Lee says White House officials told her Trump was "unraveling".

Of course, Salon with its progressive slant, can't be considered mainstream the way USA Today can. As far as I have been able to tell USA Today is the only widely circulated publication to publish a story about Trump's dangerous psychopathology.

It is about time that the mainstream media, including publications that the far right fringe considers to be fake news like The New York Times and The Washington Post, have regular columnists who are mental health experts who can analyze the behavior of public figures based on their knowledge of personality.

It is about time dangerous psychopathology stops being normalized by the media. It must be called out for what it is.

You can post comments directly by clicking below.


I found Trump in Medieval painting of legal Hell

  I found Trump in Medieval painting of legal Hell By Hal Brown Okay, that's a lie. I added a stylized version of Trump (made by using B...