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Professionals Should Talk About Trump’s Mental Health

February 28, 2017 Natasha Tracy

Some argue that professionals shouldn’t talk about Trump’s mental health, mostly comparing him to anyone else. For example, I wouldn’t want, nor would I think it was appropriate, for a mental health professional to make judgments about my mental health based solely on my public actions. But then again, I’m not The President of the United States. And that makes the situation just a wee bit different. It’s because of this that professionals should openly talk about Trump’s mental health and fitness as a president.

Mental Health and a President’s Public Actions

Again, the difference between my public actions and The President’s public actions is that my life is not on display 24 hours a day – his is. I do not sign my beliefs into extensive numbers of Executive Orders. I do not make copious speeches to The Nation. My actions cannot possibly cause a worldwide catastrophe because I refuse to bow to basic social mores.

No matter what I do, I do not put lives in danger – The Present can do this every, single day.

The Public Deserves to Know About The President’s Mental Health If It Affects Job Performance

Some say talking abut Trump's mental health is inappropriate, but this writer argues that mental health professionals need to talk about Trump's mental health.For example, if it was proposed that Trump had depression, I really couldn’t care less. While I have no doubt that any medical condition would affect The President, in my opinion, simple depression generally doesn’t affect someone’s job fitness.

Narcissistic personality disorder, on the other hand, is a mental health condition that absolutely affects job fitness as a president.

In the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), narcissistic personality disorder is defined as comprising a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration and a lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by the presence of at least five of the following nine criteria

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally exploitive behavior
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
  • A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

I’ll let you and professionals decide whether President Donald Trump has exhibited the characteristics required for the above diagnosis. What I can say is that if he did, it would certainly impede his performance as The President of the United States.

If President Trump Is Mentally Ill, Professionals Need to Talk About It

I know that mental health professionals have a rule about diagnosing people who are not their patients. They have an agreement that states they shouldn’t do that. I get that. And if mental health professionals started diagnosing pop stars and actors, that would be careless and useless, but these people don’t have the keys to nuclear missiles.

So I get it, people don’t want professionals to diagnose others with incomplete information; but I would suggest that President Trump has been in the spotlight for so long and so much, that the information needed to make certain diagnoses is complete. So professionals absolutely should be talking about Trump’s mental health because the public has a right to assess his fitness to lead a nation.

Check out Natasha Tracy’s book: Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar and connect with her on Facebook, Google+ or Twitter or at Bipolar Burble, her blog.

Image by By Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

APA Reference
Tracy, N. (2017, February 28). Professionals Should Talk About Trump’s Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2017/02/professionals-should-talk-about-trumps-mental-health



Author: Natasha Tracy

Natasha Tracy is a renowned speaker, award-winning advocate and author of Lost Marbles: Insights into My Life with Depression & Bipolar.

Find Natasha Tracy on her blog, Bipolar BurbleTwitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Sarah
says:
March, 21 2017 at 9:21 pm
Addendum: a peaceful, democratic way.
Sarah
says:
March, 20 2017 at 9:22 pm
All of this debate about Trump's mental health is a poor attempt at 'ad hominem', trying to reduce his credibility through attacking his character.

Advocates for people with mental illnesses know that this only increases the stigma of mental illness.

'Bad person' is different from 'mentally ill'. Conflating these two increases the stigma of mental illness. Natasha, you have tried to deflect the stigma of mental illness onto personality disorders. This is not helpful.

Trump is clearly an awful person, a misogynist, a liar, and so forth. Sure you can match up 'symptoms', if you're an amateur. Professionals know that there should not be any other reason or explanation for his behaviour for a diagnosis- but there is. His behaviour is deliberate and has made him successful.

Try to differentiate the politics from the apparent 'psychiatric condition'. You can't, because the politics are much bigger than that. Diagnosing Trump is like looking at the part without seeing the whole. The cat has four claws, if you only look at one leg.

Mental illness cannot account for terrorism, war, and genocide; yet people go around diagnosing Hitler in an attempt to explain these things.

There is a lot more to this situation, then whether Trump fits into a diagnosis of NPD or not. A lot more. Mental health professionals should stick to helping individuals, they should not use their paradigms to try to influence politics.

Find another way, to solve the problems in your country.
Patty Wisner
says:
March, 19 2017 at 5:40 pm
This is my first time at Healthy Place and I was getting excited about the quality of the articles, the various communities and helpful advice. I'm involved in a mental illness support and education organization in my community and am always on the lookout for quality resources. This article brought me to a screeching halt. Can't we focus on wellness and get off our personal political and religious soapboxes for the greater good of those who suffer from mental illness?
Arnold P.
says:
March, 17 2017 at 5:33 pm
I've heard many conflate Mr. Trumps billionaire status with commercial success. The fact is that he inherited his wealth from his father, and has managed to not squander it away, which is a significant fact. But not the same as building that wealth on your own.

Regardless of his competition in the race, his fitness to hold office is a valid topic of discussion, as it is for every president.
Rosie
says:
March, 16 2017 at 9:28 am
Americans have a right to know all health issues from the neck up and neck down of a sitting President. Those running for office should disclose tax returns, financial statements, all their little trusts created in others name, and pee in a cup like any other American applying for a job. And why should other countries care? Trump effects the entire world.
Patricia Mraz
says:
March, 16 2017 at 9:03 am
There are MANY examples of true geniuses with mental health issues that accomplish amazing things in life. Politics doesn't mix well when you're running a "healthy place" for people to refer to. POTUS Trump is no more mentally ill than anyone else. Just because u didn't vote for him, don't go labeling him or anyone else you dislike. A very unprofessional thing to do. I would never confide anything to someone that mocks another person with mental illness and mask it as concern when it's truly that you merely dislike the person
R
says:
March, 14 2017 at 6:35 pm
At least he doesn't have absolute power like Putin. There are still a few checks and balances in place... If he's not careful he can still be impeached

Not that I wish anyone dead, but did you know that of the 4 American presidents that were assassinated, 3 were republican.
Classic Gaslighting
says:
March, 7 2017 at 4:50 pm
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to know by now that Trump is a liar and master manipulator. He persistently uses classic gaslighting techniques in an attempt to weasel his way out of difficult conversations. But aren't many successful businessmen and ruthless politicians adept at gaslighting? Many psychopaths and narcissists also employee these same gaslighting techniques.

For anyone wanting to know what makes a man like Trump tick perhaps try reading one the following books

The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power
By Joel Bakan

Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work
Paul Babiak, Ph.D.,

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World Of Psychopaths Among Us
By Robert D. Hare, Ph.D

Trump is a billionaire and you can safely bet he didn't get there by being nice.

It is said that money is power and is at the root of all evil. I find it ironic that some American money is stamped with the words "In God We Trust"

Satan (the embodiment of evil) is sometimes referred to in the bible as father of lies...

America is a rich and powerful country. Don't be fooled into believing it got that way by being nice!
Iluvcats
says:
March, 7 2017 at 12:05 pm
I didn't vote for Trump and loathe the man. Nevertheless, this diagnosis from afar by Democrat psychiatrists is intended as a slur, and this is no good for the stigma issue. Let's discount people by calling them mentally ill. Ah, by psychiatrists, too. It's troubling to me. Not good for us labeled folks. Trump represents and is a product of widely held views. People live in bubbles and don't realize.
Steve Williams
says:
March, 6 2017 at 11:12 pm
The position of POTUS is regarded as the highest seat in the land, a person who leads the free world. This man brings anxiety to a whole new level, of course people should consider his mental abilities. Running a damn company is one thing but to be responsible for the entire future of a large nation/the globe is something else. America you need to take a good look at Trump and those around him and ask are they really serving for the good of the country.
God Bless America
says:
March, 6 2017 at 2:11 am
An interesting little tidbit. Did you know that President Trumps grandmothers last name was Christ?

In some Christian circles comments have been made that perhaps President Trump is the Anti Christ

Even Pope Frances said in reference to President Trump that a man who builds walls instead of bridges is not a Christian

God bless America! You're gonna need all the help you can get
Do You Honestly Believe He Is That Dangerous?
says:
March, 5 2017 at 7:09 am
The following is an example of other world leaders who have also been accused of having a mental illness (mostly of a narcissist personality disorder)

Fidel Castro (Cuba)
Saddam Hussain (Iraq)
Pol Pot (Cambodia)
Joseph Stalin (Soviet Union)
Adolf Hitler (Germany)
Kim Jong Il (North Korea)
Idi Amin Dada (Uganda)
Momar Khadafi (Libya)

Can you honestly say that Trump is
as crazy or dangerous as any of these?
Sane enough to run a country?
says:
March, 4 2017 at 12:02 pm
Perhaps you should listen to President Trumps full speech to congress on Feb 28, 2017. He sounds pretty sane to me
D.S. Arrowsmith
says:
March, 4 2017 at 11:54 am
The president's health, mental or physical, is a matter of national concern. Everybody gets ill. The question is can the ill person do his or her job. If the illness is polio that cripples the legs and the job is president, the answer is yes. If the illness is a stroke that cripples the brain and the job is president, the answer is no. We've had presidents with both conditions. In today's world, a president stricken as Wilson was would give way to his vice president. Can someone with narcissistic personality disorder handle the strains of the presidency? I think not. Can someone who may not have NPD but gives every indication of having NPD handle the strains of the presidency. Again, no.

Commenter "What business . . . " writes that more than half of Americans voted Trump into office, so that assertion alone calls into question anything else the commenter writes. Significantly fewer than half of Americans voted for this man. Our president has never been elected by a national popular vote.

Everyone on the planet is concerned about who the American president is because America has had a preeminence in world affairs. The country has been a world leader. Trump and his adherents are doing a good job of undermining that position.
Criminally insane, A Danger To Others?
says:
March, 4 2017 at 10:15 am
People with a mental illness can be involuntarily hospitalized if they are a danger to themselves or others. Have you ever heard of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder ever being hospitalized. Ummm NO, neither have I

Trump's personality hasn't prevented him from becoming a successful billionaire or even raising well adjusted kids. So what make you so sure he can't successfully lead a country?

A few past presidents have been impeached for criminal activity, such as Bill Clinton (who was later acquitted). Do you think Trumps perceived mental illness makes him criminally insane and therefore impeachable?
Does mental illness make you a criminal?
says:
March, 4 2017 at 3:29 am
The USA is not a communist country, it's a democracy. The people who voted President Trump in have to take some responsible for the outcome. Since 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a mental illness that means 1/4 of the population (including Trump???) is "crazy" and the other 3/4 are not.

Trump is a billionaire. He knows how to successfully run an organization. Since the USA people pretty much stuck with him now for the next 4 years at least Trump a chance. He doesn't work alone. He has many advisors

Seriously, what was the alternative?

Former President Bill Clinton was impeached (and later acquitted). The USA people voiced their trepidation by not electing his wife Hilary, who was involved in an email scandal of her own

So what recourse do you have now with President Trump except maybe to impeach him?

Impeachment is a process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as criminal or civil punishment.

Having a mental illness does not neccessarily make you a criminal or does it?
Dr Musli Ferati
says:
March, 3 2017 at 10:35 pm
Far away psychiatrization of Trump's mental health condition, it is put on the necessity to explore professionally everyone mental statement, because it has got crucial impact on individual and public global wellbeing. Indeed mental health indicates foundation and prerequisite of functional life performances to each member of respective social network. In addition, mental structure of any person predict the place and role of individual to oneself social milieu. These and many others prerogatives of mental condition exhibit radical outlook to this sensible issue with meaningful influence to personal, occupational and social activities. But, there are many socio-cultural barriers to spoken openly on this anathema. The first one is obstinate stigma on mental health v.s. illness, that impedes essentially the functional promotion and affirmation of mental heath care, as a whole complex medical, psychological and social undertaking. It exist still a lot of public prejudices and misunderstanding on mental health that complicate and make impossible up to date psychiatric treatment and management of any mental disorder. They, also undervalued the significance of prevention of any mental disorder with numerous biopsychosocial implications. In reference to mental health statement of public persons, such is president of USA, it may to say that in function of universal interest is to exclude any mental deficit to each nominated candidate for public duty. In question is its ability and responsibility to perform successfully its daily functions. Otherwise, we as humane population would be display to many dangerous risk for worldwide welfare and international peace and understanding, as well.
What business is it of yours?
says:
March, 3 2017 at 1:41 pm
Natasha

Technically you may not have offered your diagnosis, by cleverly side stepping the issue, but clearly you have offered a strong opinion of what you believe is true of Trump's mental state. Why else would you have choose to draw attention the to DSM's description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Lets just say for the sake of argument that Trump does have NPD, all you're doing is perpetuating the stigma of mental illness by all your crazy talk. As one who suffers from a mental illness I expected better of you

You also seem to have forgotten that more than 1/2 of all Americans voted this president into office and therefore have confidence in his ability to run the country

You on the other hand are Canadian, so what business is it of yours?
Karen
says:
March, 1 2017 at 6:46 am
I think it is unethical for anybody to diagnose somebody regardless of their public role. The same about NPD could be applied to numerous examples of Obama and his thin skin and constant need for admiration-does a baseless Nobel Peace Prize ring a bell. So please, stop with the armchair psychiatry! By the way, I have unsubscribed from any emails from this site due to the clearly biased nonsense of this article. Goodbye.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natasha Tracy
says:
March, 3 2017 at 5:30 am
Hi Karen,

Technically, I said that people should _talk_ about his mental illness and that's not the same thing as giving a diagnosis.

- Natasha Tracy

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