Trump and the Diagnosis Free-for-All

Sera Davidow
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SeverTrump Mentally Ill?al articles are now in circulation claiming that Donald Trump is ‘mentally ill’. Petitions have surfaced declaring his supposed ‘illness’ as a reason to cut his term short. One such petition calls specifically upon psychologists and other degreed professionals to demand his removal, and has over 20,000 signatures to date.

And, of course, others seem to find this to  be a solid opportunity for some utterly (not) hilarious ‘crazy’ jokes. Take Andy Borowitz, best-selling author, comedian, and long-time writer for the New Yorker, who thought the time was ripe for making satire out of Trump-themed voice hearing. Surely, he meant for this to be at Trump’s expense, but who do you suppose is really losing out in his portrayal? (Thank goodness for the much better ‘voice hearing’ representations conveyed in recent issues of both Foreign Policy and the New York Times.)

While I get the desperation to play any angle that stands a chance at ousting this man from office, we’re treading on dangerous territory here. Of course, the backlash has already begun. Dozens of articles have also popped up to counter the ‘Trump is mentally ill’ trope. Even controversial (at least ’round these parts) psychiatrist Allen Frances got in on the game.

However, I have yet to see a single article that does a good job of challenging the claim of ‘crazy’ where Trump is concerned that doesn’t also legitimize the diagnostic process overall. This is a serious problem.

In order to squarely demand everyone “stop saying Trump’s crazy”, we shouldn’t simultaneously be required to commit to the tag, “because it’s unfair to the real crazy people”.  (More on this later.) And we certainly shouldn’t have to say, “Hey, don’t call him crazy… just yet.” This latter approach is where the vast majority of ‘crazy’ contrarians seem to be coming from with a nod to the ‘Goldwater Rule.’ In other words: “We can’t diagnose someone… until we’ve sat down with them in person and spent our proper 15 to 50 minutes needed to do so.”

First of All…

First of all, I’d like everyone — in both camps — to take a deep breath (as a rule, I really hate when people tell me to ‘breathe’, but… just in this one case… please give it a go) and examine why this argument is even a ‘thing’. Like, why is whether or not Trump has been assigned a psychiatric diagnosis relevant to whether or not he serves as our president? What does the fact that we’re so fervently battling this point out even say about how our culture regards emotional and/or mental distress?

We are, after all, talking about someone who has been accused of everything from inciting hate crimes, to sexual assault, to illegal travel bans. Why, precisely, is ‘diagnosis’ seen as taking it to the ‘next level’ beyond all that? Either Trump has done terrible things, or he hasn’t. Why should whether or not he also has a supposed ‘mental disorder’ even matter? Especially since we know that correlation (in this case, the same person allegedly having a ‘mental disorder’ and lacking fitness for presidency) does not mean causation (that the former is what led to the latter).

But, this isn’t new. Consider the following:

Person A: Person A has been stalking their former partner for the last several months. Person A shows up where their former partner works on a regular basis, and has sent multiple threatening emails and texts.

Person B: Person B has been a part of a crime ring for the last ten years. They’ve previously been convicted of drug and assault charges, but served their time and are back out and about in the world. Recently, however, it’s become pretty clear to the local police that they’re once again involved with the same group, and the police have received multiple tips that a large deal is about to go down involving the sale of a shipment of illegal weaponry.

Person C: Person C has no history of violence, and has never been arrested on any charge. When they were 19, they were diagnosed with schizophrenia. They’re 23 now, and recently shared with their therapist that they believe they’re being followed by a neighbor, and have been thinking about suicide.

Our current reality is such that Person A and Person B… in spite of the fact that one of them has a clear history of violence, and in spite of statistics pointing at both of them as being a much higher risk for committing an actual violent act in the future… will likely roam free until they actually do something. Yes, Person A’s former partner might be awarded a restraining order, but not much more than that is terribly likely to happen.

Yet, chances are substantially higher that Person C might wind up involuntarily locked up in a psychiatric ward, not because the threat of them doing something harmful is greater, but because of what they said. And because — somehow — the attached psychiatric diagnosis seems to afford others the right to openly hold them to a completely different standard for incarceration.

Yes, somehow psychiatric diagnosis seems to be received as not just permission, but as a directive to act in certain situations, even if it defies logic or would result in no action under similar circumstances were the person label-free (and even in the face of much more statistically reliable predictors being present).

Acting as if whether or not Trump has a ‘mental disorder’ somehow colors his acts and the threat he poses in a different sort of way certainly does defy logic. Again, he’s either done wrong, or he hasn’t. He’s either fit to serve, or he’s not. We don’t need to know ‘why’ it’s happening.

So, one approach to this particular ‘which is it’ game might simply be to say, “Who cares!”

But, many people care, and so do I…

In reality, I do care whether or not Trump gets called ‘mentally ill’ and you should, too.

I care because this argument speaks to a trend in claiming that societal ills are individual ones. Take Dylan Roof, for example. Roof murdered nine black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina while quite openly proclaiming himself to be a white supremacist. Yet voices were quick to rise, questioning whether or not ‘mental illness,’ rather than racism, might be a primary culprit.

In fact, ‘extreme racism’ has been proposed for diagnostic consideration, and that debate is well underway. But even the most conservative psychiatrist doesn’t generally claim that ‘mental illness’ is catching (at least, not beyond the repetitively faulty genetics tripe), and it would surely seem that racism is a thing that spreads (so says its linguistic bedfellow ‘systemic’). Thus, we shouldn’t be too quick to let ourselves off the hook.

Trump is a man who many (albeit not the majority) voted into office. People liked what he had to say. At least on some level, they admired his wealth, his sexual conquests, his capitalist nature. They were willing to excuse or ignore those pesky little signs of his ‘occasional’ over-indulgences, or impulsive episodes of mouthing off. They even lauded some of his transgressions, suggesting it demonstrated he was all the more ‘real.’ And those of us who disagreed — well, we apparently lacked the momentum and togetherness to create an effective blockade.

Sure, we can now point fingers and say there’s something wrong with Donald Trump, but what is wrong with those of us who saw his behavior and elected him anyway? What is wrong with those of us who saw the signs of danger descending upon us and still couldn’t pull it together to sufficiently fight back?

Trump is a symptom, not an illness. He would never have made it to the oval office if not for society being sick.

There but for the grace of (lack of) diagnosis go I…

And then there’s this whole diagnosis thing, overall. The aforementioned problem with almost all the other “Trump’s Not Mentally Ill” retorts in which they use this opportunity to inexplicably raise up the sanctity of the diagnostic system instead of summarily thrashing it down.

In Allen Frances’s article, “Trump isn’t Crazy,” he has some interesting things to say. Most notably, this:

“But they ignore the further requirement that is crucial in defining all mental disorders—the behaviors also must cause clinically significant distress or impairment. 

Trump is clearly a man singularly without distress and his behaviors consistently reap him fame, fortune, women, and now political power. He has been generously rewarded, not at all impaired by it.”

Yes. Yes, precisely, Allen! You’ve made a very important point here, although… I’m not sure you quite meant to make it. Diagnosis so often does depend on… privilege! Thanks so much for drawing that out.

Donald Trump isn’t ‘mentally ill’ at least in part because he has experienced such tremendous privilege that he’s unstoppably risen to the top of our society’s ranks. Because there’s so much excess between us and his ‘indiscretions’ that he’s pretty much untouchable by hook, crook, or DSM. He may do things we don’t like. He may even hurt people (far more than most who are locked up for being an ‘imminent risk of serious danger to self or others’). Individuals might find him to be ‘eccentric’ (widely accepted code for ‘crazy but rich’), careless and/or unkind. Apparently hundreds of thousands believe he poses a great threat to this country’s overall wellbeing. But, no, he’s not ‘mentally ill,’ because this whole manner of categorization of human beings is just that subjective.

In other words, Trump is not ‘mentally ill’ because he is not a member of any of society’s groups for which tools of control (like our diagnostic system) are most specifically designed. His brand of dangerous is party to some other kind of measure. A different set of standards. And while this tells us something about Trump, it tells us much more about ourselves.

Trump Party Favors…

And here’s where perhaps… just perhaps… this whole argument has done us a bit of a favor. In a way, having such a high profile debate on this very topic has helped expose some of the absurdity of it all. Just a little, at least. We’re caught up in an era of a psychiatric free-for-all. Where Hey look, mom, I’ve got a mental illness” may compete in frequency with such childhood markers as learning how to ride a bike. But who gets ‘caught’ and who escapes the diagnostic machine may have a lot less to do with someone’s internal workings than most may still think.

It would seem that who is ‘mentally ill’ is a movable target (much more so than, say, the cancer or diabetes to which it is often compared), sometimes based on convenience and strategy. If you hold enough power, you can decide who’s sick, provided they don’t have enough leverage to outdo you at your own game. Whoever has the (figurative and/or literal) keys gets to decide who goes home at the end of the day (and to where).Trump behind the curtain

And all of that has absolutely nothing to do with addressing real human suffering, which surely does also exist. In fact, it commonly runs counter to it. One can only hope that the blatant and willful diagnostic malleability currently on display will be akin to the effect of pulling back the curtain on the Wizard of Oz. Maybe, at least now, people are seeing a suspicious set of feet?

In the end…

We need to stop calling Trump ‘mentally ill’ because it suggests that emotional distress and trauma (and all the rest that often gets wrapped up in and confused with this idea of ‘disorder’) are somehow scarier and worse than what Trump is actually doing. It’s a distraction of the worst kind from what we can actually see and know.

We need to stop calling him ‘mentally ill’ because it misdirects us away from holding ourselves accountable for his election and the societal ills that led us to this point. We’re far better off learning from our mistakes, and figuring out a way to back off of this crumbling ledge.

And we need to stop calling Trump ‘mentally ill’ because such labels are routinely applied inequitably and in ways that have harmed so many, and this present maelstrom only further encourages that trend. Psychiatric labels tell us little to nothing about how to be with or support one another, and give almost no information about what’s actually going on. This is true of both president and neighbor. Friend or lover. Child or parent. Human being.

It certainly tells us nothing about how to get us out of our current bind.

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237 COMMENTS

  1. The only people you might give a psychiatric diagnosis are those in difficulties who voted for him, propelled by the delusion he might do something for them despite his ample history of thinking only about himself and his own personal advancement. They did get the president they deserved.

  2. Hurrah for this article. I posted on my facebook page this:

    “Saying Trump is mentally ill gives service users a bad name.
    He is a very greedy, power crazed, nasty man. I don’t need any fake medical language to tell me that.”

    Psychiatric diagnosis lack validity but some people like having a diagnosis.

    I quite like that so many have signed the petition or that professionals are saying he is mad as it shows widespread opposition to Trump but it also colludes with psychiatry.

    Why he got in is worth looking at. Of course people liked his nasty side but also the working class are weak and disorganized. If they were organised and strong they would likely see what he was promising were lies and he would not have got into power.

  3. Which is worse, to be called “mentally ill” or to be called “mad”, “crazy”…what have you? I was reading a book in which it was inferred that people had been “mentally ill” for as long as people had been around. This took me aback for one reason, elsewhere I read that the first instance of the use of the term “mentally ill”–the word “mental” connected to the word “illness”–was 1847 in Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Early in the 20th century, with a wave of asylum building reform zeal, the term took off. I’ve never felt that “mentally ill” was any less ‘stigmatizing’ than the words “mad” or “crazy”. Quite the reverse.

    Donald Trump is a rich boss of a tax evader. Legally evading taxes is supposed to make him smarter than the average citizen. I don’t see it. Donald Trump is an example of the 1 % that are getting richer at the expense of the 99 % who are getting poorer. I would imagine that makes for a heck of a lot of people, albeit not the majority, who should be getting diagnoses for voting this bozo in. Trump is a brand name. If the brand name is unhealthy, well, it wouldn’t be the first. Who could object to the Ronald McDonald of Presidential Candidates? Well, me for one. What do we have to look forward to in the future? More tax breaks for the rich obviously.

  4. People believe psychiatry is a science, not just another way to judge people. Mixing up moral and criminal behaviour ““He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+8&version=NKJV

    Trumps action are either legal or illegal. This is what people should focus on. Do you not remember Trumps accusation of Hillary? https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/politics/100000004701741/trump-to-clinton-youd-be-in-jail.html

    Three fingers pointing back https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/8f/71/b5/8f71b596d70d8e9fe26cdc17eb19aee7.jpg

    P.S. The psychiatrists are crazy themselves when they say a prison is not a prison, it is a hospital ( people can’t leave), the drugs they issue are not drugs, they are medicine( there is nothing physically wrong in the patient for the drugs to affect).

  5. The reason why strategically there is a move to label him psychiatrically – feelers being put out in mainstream media, politicians, in addition to garden variety folks and psych professionals who covet a role for themselves – is that it is one possible avenue to get him out of office. You mention this, but I think it is worth going into more detail about why psychiatric labels are connected to the idea of unfitness for office.

    The constitutional provision at issue, the 25th Amendment, doesn’t specify what it takes to judge the president to be unfit, but the term ‘inability’ or ‘unable’ is also used. According to wikipedia’s version of the legislative history and motivation (I haven’t taken the time to research further), this is not about a judgment of the president’s competence in the sense of meeting job requirements, but rather competence in the sense that amounts to a physical or mental disability.

    We shy away from making job requirements for the president (in the sense of qualities or competencies to do the work of being president), it’s political and there’s the idea that people have a right to choose whoever they want as a political leader. Yet, it would make a lot more sense if everything that we now lump into the idea of mental disability or mental incapacity would instead be referred to an examination of what we actually see as an impediment to a person carrying out the job. There is something to our sense of the current president’s unfitness for the office he has been elected to, in terms of his belligerent character as someone who deliberately taunts and targets large numbers of individuals and groups with his hostility, as someone who is ineffective at communicating about policy issues, as someone who is maintaining numerous situations in which he has a financial conflict of interest with his office, and more. And, maybe we want job descriptions, but if we don’t (and that would require a constitutional amendment) we are stuck with this president unless the congress goes through with impeachment, which requires more people to act.

    Ultimately what’s going on exposes the bankruptcy of ‘mental capacity’ evaluations as a whole, and is a good example for all of us of how psychiatric diagnoses function to invalidate people, violating their rights to enjoy legal capacity that are guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Article 12. (Yes, I’ve linked this up with CRPD. If this interests you, google and read CRPD General Comment No. 1, especially paragraphs 13-15 that reject the invalidation of people’s decision-making by virtue of ‘mental incapacity’ or ‘unsound mind’ judgments. Read all of it, see also the section on support, and paragraph 42 which says plainly that forced treatment violates both legal capacity and the right to be free from torture and ill-treatment.)

    I have one other point that goes to the overall context politically. There are (at least) two ways we can respond to the current situation, two ways we can understand the lessons to be drawn. One is to blame ourselves for not electing another candidate; another is to look at the flaws of the political, economic and social system that was problematic before this election and remains so albeit with much deeper problems and in deeper crisis than ever before. We are good in crises, we wake up and look at each other, draw together and take care of each other. There are lessons also from Standing Rock and what is ongoing there, and all the movements that pre-existed the current administration including ours, needing to reinvigorate ourselves and having some synergistic potential. I am not in any way saying ‘bad is good’ but there is a great deal in the balance and many ways we can respond to the bad, some of which may have the potential for deeper and lasting change than others.

    • I think the job description angle is really interesting. If we wrote one out for a state president and then compared it to Trump where would he fall down? You have listed some ways. Just writing those up in a public blog or article would be a good exercise in itself and also challenge the psychiatric diagnosis angle.

  6. Thanks for this Sera and your commentary Tina.
    I would prefer impeachment but can understand why folks are using the view of a compromised president to make s change.
    It reminds me of Riyadh Kipling’s Captain Couregous .
    A vain and nefarious rich young man learns about true courage and kindness from a Portuguese immigrant – Manuel who died saving his life.
    The rich and the celebrities have been godified and are above the law and common human decency expectations.
    Not all but many and our President is a text book example.
    I hope his time can be shortened without the use of psychiatric labeling.
    We seem as a society to be trapped in unhealthy thinking patterns. We will be paying the price. Interestingly, Kipling was caught up in this circular logic during the years and at the start of WWI.He believed in the cause and actively pushed to get his son in the war effort. It took the death of his son and the true carnage of the battle to open his mind.
    Thanks again.

  7. I agree our society is sick, I would say given the inability of the members of the left and the right political parties to even comprehend or communicate with one another in a peaceful and rational manner, so we may try and understand each other’s perspectives, and work together to improve our society … what would that be? I believe our society could be diagnosed with a sort of societal Dissociative Identity Disorder.

    But I can give some insight into why some people voted for Trump, since I’ve read perspectives from both sides of the political spectrum. First, I would like to say that I believe we were given less than perfect choices for President, and this is a societal problem, although it’s also a human problem, since none of us are perfect. Perhaps, the two party system needs to end, however?

    As to why Trump voters voted for who they perceived to be the lesser of two evils, I believe it’s primarily a case of “it’s the economy, stupid.” And they felt a perceived, non-Washington insider, business man might be better able to fix the economy than a grandmother whose husband was responsible for getting rid of the Glass-Stiegal Act, who was also in bed with the Wall Street bankers, who are largely the ones who destroyed our economy – which is who Hillary Clinton is. Plus, Clinton apparently has close ties to pedophiles. Do you want a claimed “pervert,” “misogynist,” “racist,” “homophobe,” etc. etc. in the White House, or someone with close ties to pedophiles in the White House? Not exactly a fair choice, although I also do not agree name calling and divide and conquer is a logical or intelligent campaign strategy, since it’s also a war tactic.

    Most of the Trump voters are disgusted by what they perceive as gross mismanagement of our monetary system by the Washington insiders and Federal Reserve for decades, the exporting of massive numbers of American jobs, the ever increasing economic inequality and enormous national debt that has resulted from this, worsened by the never ending wars that Washington insiders seem hell bent on waging to shore up their Petrodollar, and likely so the delusions of grandeur filled globalist bankers can bring down America and bring about their prophesied one monetary system and the Bushes and Clintons and Obama puppets’ theorized NWO. All wars are bankers wars, google that.

    If you do not understand biblical prophesy, you will not understand what is going on in the world today, IMHO. Will Trump do what he promised or will he be yet one more Washington puppet President to betray the American people for the globalist money masters? This is yet to be seen, and I do not know, but do see reason for concern. But for the liberals that have no idea how Trump could have won the election, it’s about the economy, not about “white supremacy,” “misogyny,” “racism,” “sexism,” etc., etc. We weren’t given a good choice, unless Trump is true to his word to “make America great again,” which would require him to stand up to the evil, globalist, war mongering banksters, about whom our founding fathers forewarned us, and who have been intentionally stealing from and destroying this country from within, for a century plus now.

    • I fail to see why Sera and almost all the commenters here imagine HRC would have been an angel of mercy or champion of psychiatric survivors. From what I heard she had Big Plans to Help the “Mentally Ill.” Just thinking about what that would mean to us all should make us shudder.

      I’m more hopeful that Trump will leave us the Heck alone. Right now that’s more than we can hope from most politicians. If he successfully dismantles Obamacare, it probably will work to our advantage in some respects. He doesn’t care about folks like us–nobody in politics does, especially those who want to “help” us.

      If Obamacare is dismantled–or more likely modified–my guess is that hospitals will be less likely to lock us up indefinitely. The reason psych hospitals and wards in Canada do so is because they CAN. The government pays them endless streams of money, no questions asked.

      Last time I was in a psych ward, they released me after four days. Why? My Medicaid refused to pay for it. No profit from consumer/prisoner means no motive to imprison.

      As the old proverb goes: It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good. 😉

  8. Interesting article and comments. Labeling Trump “mentally ill” is a way of discrediting him and taking away his power. Same thing we do to all those labeled with DSM diagnoses. Trump obviously has a large ego and when you have lots of money and influence which billionaire businessmen do, people around you who benefit from that bow down to you certainly easy to create a false grandiose sense of self.

    Trump is a strange byproduct of our current society, a “symptom” like you mentioned Sera. American society is certainly very ill right now. The poor and disabled are being pushed further off the economic cliff with fewer hopes of getting out. Lack of good jobs and financial security has sparked this. It has caused fear, anger and mistrust. People get angrier when feel sense of scarcity and look to scapegoat and bully those whom they identify as weaker instead of looking at the institutions that we created that hold the real power and influence. Americans have seen tough times before and have been able to make positive changes.

    I have hope that American ingenuity and our innate sense of justice, fairness and compassion will prevail. We are much better off caring about one another then dismissing and disconnecting from one another.

  9. Every president I can remember has been a war criminal, except for Trump, so far (but give him time). So I’m not going to indulge in all this liberal denial which is unfortunately still going on, i.e. “the Russians did it,” “we had a (razor thin) majority,” OR “Trump is mentally ill.” It still is totally outrageous that the “social justice” contingent which will now jump at any chance to protest Trump would be sitting back smugly and breathing a sigh of relief if Clinton — again, a racist war criminal by any definition — had prevailed. This sort of hypocrisy remains an essential obstacle to any real progress.

    That said, what could be a positive outcome here would be for the “mental illness” canard to be pounded so vociferously by the anti-Trump liberals that it becomes a constant topic of conversation which leads to a mass understanding of the absurdity of “mental illness” labels in general.

      • Only if people accept that narrative. Hi Uprising!

        There needs to be a 2-pronged strategy for the real “resistance” over the coming period (and yes, the Schumers and Bookers are among the ones we need to be resisting). One part of this would be confronting and defeating the most destructive moves attempted by Trump (or the true fascists who may have his ear). The other — and equally important — is purging the Clintonian faction from the Democratic Party in favor of someone Berni-esque. I think a good strategy would be to run a younger class-conscious progressive/social-democrat for president and Bernie for VP. That would be a good start.

        More to the subject, maybe Trump could be goaded into ordering a Congressional investigation into the psychiatric industry if enough people insist that he be “examined.” On the other hand he might be so egotistical that he’s sure he would “pass” a psych exam — even though most shrinks are liberals, Charles Krauthammer notwithstanding (and even his assessment of Trump would be unpredictable). The big test for “us” would be what we would do if some shrink examined Trump and pronounced him “mentally ill” — would we have the consistency of analysis and principle to support Trump’s human rights and an anti-psychiatry position, or would people opportunistically hop on the bandwagon of psychiatric diagnosis to get at Trump?

        • Frankly I think Trump’s in no real danger. He’s rich and powerful. If certain politically motivated shrinks tried to diagnose/drug him that would be a big mistake on their part. (Though we might actually benefit.)

          Remember what stopped the Salem witch trials? The witch hunters overreached themselves and accused the governor’s wife of witchcraft. BIG MISTAKE! The governor and a bunch of other big wigs got together. They claimed the evidence presented in the trials was invalid.

          The witch hunters went home in disgrace, now that the party was over. None of the girls/young women behind that fiasco came to a good end. Like there was a curse on them.

  10. Allen Frances is not the solution.

    Allen Frances and Whitaker had their problems. Head against head. Nothing good come out of it. Is a figth that can not be winned (from the start).

    Allen Frances helped to make a earlier version of the DSM. Frnces has blood at his hands. Somehow… Frances pretends he is a nice man. At first he did (see his exchange with Whitaker), … then…

    I liked this article. It would be a nicer article if the article had quoted a psychiatristrist that had the courage to say:
    “This duck is a duck”.

    I feel Trump is not seen by what he has done. By his lies/ abuses/ manipulations. People have short atention ranges/ weak memories. Twitter memories?
    ……………..

    One point is interesting… but not carryed deep enough… you gessed… by Allen Frances.

    Here is a lie, from Allen Frances:

    “the further requirement that is crucial in defining all mental disorders — the behaviors also must cause clinically significant distress or impairment”.

    NOOOOOOT TRUE. Where i live (DSM criteria applies), you get get locked in a mental hospital (for months), by just refusing to take psychiatric drugs. Allen Frances knows that. Every psychiatric nurse knows that.
    …………..

    The original link to Allen Frances, posted at 31 January 2017:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/saving-normal/201701/trump-isnt-crazy

    Quote 1): He says at the title: “I wrote the DSM criteria and he doesn’t meet them”.

    Well, Allen Frances directed/ helped to wrote the DSM-IV. That is dated, now the DSM-5 rules. Allen Frances is well known to criticise… PARTS of the DSM-5… and the way DSM-5 was prepared.
    But when is convenient to Allen Frances.. he IS THE AUTHORITY (not that folk Whitaker… the journalist) 🙂
    …………..

    Quote 2): “Trump’s consensus diagnosis among amateur, at-a-distance diagnosticians is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

    re: Humm? What is the name of a DDT that lies? Narcissistic Pinoquio Disorder?
    Yes Pinoquio, because you cant say: “YES” at the morning… “NO” at the afternoon… and at nigth say it did not happen, ot that are no rules… at nigth? Or can?
    …………..

    Quote 2): “Dismissing Trump as simply mad paradoxically reduces our ability to deal with his actions”.

    re: yes, and dismissing Trump as sane, makes a person to need a psychiatrist. Great self serving advice 🙂
    Please dear USA people…. make Mr. Allen Frances go more to the TV (as guest), as he clearly shares some of traits he quotes from Trump:

    a) grandiose self-importance;
    b) preoccupations with being brilliant and successful;
    c) feeling special and having to hang out with special people;
    d) requiring constant admiration;
    e) feeling entitled;
    f) being exploitive;
    g) being arrogant;
    h) being sucessful;
    i) Allen Frances being rich? Likely (not so much as Trump).
    …………..

    Quote 3): “The American Psychiatric Association has a useful ethics policy that explicitly prohibits the diagnosis of politicians at a distance”.

    re: yet… Allen Frances says (diagnostic by his own DSM made criteria): Trump is sane. “Trump Isn’t Crazy” (at the title).
    …………..

    Quote 4): “Please stop talking about psychiatric evaluations (or impeachment). This embarrasses us more than it does Trump.

    re: yes… talk is dangerous. Post is dangerous. Chat is dangerous. To use Twitter is dangerous.
    Wait? We people diagnosed with SZ can criticise the DSM?
    Or we will be re-labeled as: a “SZ Co-morbid Oppositional Defiant Disorder”?

    Fear! Be afraid be veryyyy afraid of criticisng the DSM 🙂
    …………..

    Quote 5): “And the people around Trump are even more dangerous than he in the long run”.

    re: So now Trump is dangerous? And the psychiatrist Allen Frances… that in his own words: “I wrote the DSM criteria”… does not know that… even theoretic… “danger”… is a big tool used to put people at all ages taking psychiatric drugs?

    Weird, Frances 🙂
    …………..

    Quote 6): At the site (53 comments), there is a very funny comment, by Michael Scarborough:

    “It’s very painful to apply this same logic to a historical figure like Hitler. Somehow it lets us off the hook as humans to write off Hitler as a lunatic. After reading this, I am forced to contemplate the reality that maybe Hitler was an evil but normal, rational, self-interested human being, just like Trump. They’re not crazy, they are us.”

    Hilarious =)
    …………..

    And to finish… seems that Allen takes the DSM… way too serious. Is at DSM criteria: you are sick. If that not fully fits the DSM criteria… you have a free pass.
    Seems to completely lack common sense. Like a robot. That is this this kind of people that will make the DSM-6. Scary.

    • The fact that we are even having this discussion on a national level shows just how bankrupt the idea of DSM diagnoses are. Would there be a national argument on whether Trump had cancer? Over what his cholesterol levels were or whether his blood pressure exceeded 140/90? Could there be a pro/con discussion over whether or not he had AIDS or syphilis?

      Only in the world of “mental health” can such an idiotic discussion be conducted by laypeople arguing with professionals. Any other medical profession could answer this question quickly by providing actual evidence that something was or was not wrong, or at least that some measurement indicated that he did or did not have a condition. Even something as vague as “obesity” has some kind of measurable standard. Only “mental health” disorders can be diagnosed solely by opinion, because there is no way to actually determine ANYTHING objectively in the “mental health” world of smoke and mirrors.

      — Steve

      • “The fact that we are even having this discussion on a national level shows just how bankrupt the idea of DSM diagnoses are. Would there be a national argument on whether Trump had cancer?”

        This is just a silly argument. Suffering from cancer does not make one potentially dangerous. The DSM’s description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder’s symptoms fits perfectly with the behavior we have witnesses over and again by Trump. There is no denying that. This man is now in the most stressful job in the world, and stress is not a friend to someone who suffers from this problem.

        • Suffering from cancer does not make one potentially dangerous.

          Neither does a fraudulent “diagnosis.”

          This does bring up an important question though — have studies ever been done to ascertain the percentage of cancer patients, heart patients, diabetes patients, etc. who engage in violent acts? Maybe we should mandate forced treatment for them, or take away their guns based on their diagnosis.

          • If there were evidence connecting diabetes to violent acts (self-harming or harming others), that should be explored. However, there isn’t any.

            As for “fraudulent “diagnosis,” forget about naming the problem, if that is the issue for you, and just ask which of the following descriptions do not aptly describe Trump’s behavior:

            1. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
            2. Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
            3. Exaggerating your achievements and talents
            4. Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
            5. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
            6. Requiring constant admiration
            7. Having a sense of entitlement
            8. Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
            9. Taking advantage of others to get what you want
            10. Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
            11. Being envious of others and believing others envy you
            12. Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

          • If there were evidence connecting diabetes to violent acts (self-harming or harming others), that should be explored. However, there isn’t any.

            Without something to compare it to, in that case, such acts by psychiatrically labeled people cannot be ascribed to the label. You would need that data you say doesn’t exist to make such a judgement.

            I see your list of complaints about your “ex” you are now projecting onto Trump. You’d be embarrassed if you knew how many people are watching and rolling their eyes.

    • AntiP — Your posts are getting way too long and rambling to be of much value, I get the sense that maybe you’re getting overwhelmed by the energy. I would suggest shorter and more focused posts if you can. There are debates going on here on different levels, and a lot of what’s really being discussed is below the surface. It takes a while to understand some of the history and context.

      • Oldhead,
        Thanks for the comment,i will see wha ti can do.

        About aiming better/ more focused goals for the forum… do you feel that what is need is already posted/ known?
        Could you make a thread at the MIA forum with the 10 more important goals.

        … you know, even when Whitakers posts a article, often it get hijacked.
        At this same article, seems the target is too wide.

        If you could do that thread, good. If not say so, and in a few months i can try.

        I do plan to make a thread of littel thing s that can/ should be impreved at the forum (but it will need to be long, but wont touch MIA priorities).
        Thanks.

  11. Mentally *ILL* 45. president of USA-Donald Trump.I doubt that such *classification* will be problem for Mr. Trump. Indeed Psychologists enjoy in *classifications* of famous people,they want to *undermine* their credibility,with adding infamous Mentally ILL or Clinical Insane *stamp*.Which can’t be removed,because
    Psychologists and Psychiatrists are part of *Science*. Mr. Trump won’t have problems with Psychologists and
    Psychiatrists and he won’t *end* in any Mental Institution in America.Same can’t be say for you my crazy brethren from USA.You will live and die by Mental Stamp!There is only one way,how to removed it forever
    or pernamently!Total *demolition* of entire Mental Health System and end of both leading professions in
    their cursed System!Start with movement Occupy NIMH,or they will *occupy* your body and mind one day…

  12. Thanks for this. I agree with the main argument of the piece. This section, however, is problematic:

    Trump is a man who many (albeit not the majority) voted into office. People liked what he had to say. At least on some level, they admired his wealth, his sexual conquests, his capitalist nature. They were willing to excuse or ignore those pesky little signs of his ‘occasional’ over-indulgences, or impulsive episodes of mouthing off. They even lauded some of his transgressions, suggesting it demonstrated he was all the more ‘real.’ And those of us who disagreed — well, we apparently lacked the momentum and togetherness to create an effective blockade.

    Sure, we can now point fingers and say there’s something wrong with Donald Trump, but what is wrong with those of us who saw his behavior and elected him anyway? What is wrong with those of us who saw the signs of danger descending upon us and still couldn’t pull it together to sufficiently fight back?

    Trump is a symptom, not an illness. He would never have made it to the oval office if not for society being sick.

    Only around 25% of eligible voters voted for Trump, and he already has lower approval ratings than George W. Bush did after Hurricane Katrina and at the beginning of the Great Recession. Certainly some people did vote for Trump because they liked the xenophobia, sexism, etc., but there were many other potential reasons for them to have done so. Like, maybe they thought it would decrease the chances of war with Russia (that the Democrats seemed to be clamoring for), or because they didn’t want to get screwed by the Trans Pacific Partnership (that Obama had wanted so badly and which Hillary had called the “gold standard” for trade deals), or because *Trump actually acknowledged the reality their economic struggles,* even if his “solutions” are nonsensical. Maybe it was because the Democrats ran the worst candidate in recent history, who promised nothing but more of the same neoliberalism and imperialism under a thin veneer of bourgeois identity politics.

    Hey, remember that time that the “Democratic Party” stole the primary from Bernie Sanders, who was running on an actual left-liberal/social-democratic platform and who actually would have likely beaten Trump? Hey, remember that time that The Democratic Party used its media organs to “elevate” Trump in the press because they thought that he would be easy to beat? Hey, remember that time the Democrats said on record that they didn’t have to worry about losing votes from their base, because they would pick up 2 professional-class Republicans for every working class liberal who didn’t bother to vote? Trump is not in the White House because of a sick society. He is in the White House because of the Democrats.

    • Do I detect a Regina Spektor allusion?

      He would never have made it to the oval office if not for society being sick.

      This was said? This contradicts everything. Societies cannot be sick, any more than minds can be diseased or corporations can be “sociopathic.”

    • This ^^^. (In respond to uprising’s post) Until Democraps are able to do some serious self-reflection, nothing is going to change in the Democratic Party. It’s dead, kaput, over.

      Hey, look! Over there! The russians the russians the russians o and those pesky deplorables…

      What is a ‘liberal’ these days? Does it mean marching around in your pink pussy hat and then calling it good? How many *poor* people/poc were out there with you? Not many. They couldn’t take time off from McDonalds without losing needed income or getting canned.

      Obama was horrible for those of us on the bottom of the economic pile (and for *lots* of ‘civilians’ in arabic countries); why can’t the ‘libruls’ see that? The terms ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ don’t mean much these days.

      http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2017/02/11/yejide-orunmila-surviving-the-white-womens-march-on-washington/

      Trump being deemed ‘mentally ill’ is just another attempt to grasp at straws…I don’t think the hubbub has enhanced the current narrative much at all, imnsho.

  13. ‘Trump will be authoritarian, that’s for sure. But his is likely to be a clumsy authoritarianism, oafish rather than Orwellian. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, leftists and millennials won’t find a dystopian, fictionalized version of Trumpism—they’ll find themselves. In the Party, in the treatment of ideas as disorders, in the Two Minutes Hate against those who are offensive or different, in the hounding of unpopular opinions, in the memory-holing of difficult things, they will see their own tragic creed reflected back to them. They will find a stinging rebuke from history of their own embrace of the sexless, joyless, ban-happy urge to control almost every area of individual thought and life. I hope they heed to this rebuke, and change.’

    http://reason.com/archives/2017/02/10/orwells-1984-a-better-reflection-of-the

  14. Good article Sera!

    No we should not be labeling Trump or anyone else as mentally ill. Lots of legal reasons to impeach Trump right now.

    But the reason the idea of mental illness persists is because it covers up for the abuses of the middle-class family, and it feeds the bogus science of eugenics, and this supports the unworkable economic system known as capitalism.

    We who have survived the mental health system, recovery, motivationalism, and the middle-class family, should be organizing and fighting back. And the example we should follow is that of the Black Panthers.

    Once people learn to organize this way, they cannot further be subjugated:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQZEwco3uTI

    Please Join, your posts will never be censored:
    http://freedomtoexpress.freeforums.org/index.php

    Nomadic

  15. U.S. stock-market indexes registered fresh records Friday and posted a third straight weekly gain, as investors focused on President Donald Trump’s pledge to move quickly on changes to the tax code—which has the potential to deliver a jolt to corporate earnings.

    Friday’s record closes come a day after all three main indexes closed at all-time highs, after Trump promised to announce a “phenomenal” tax policy in a few weeks. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-stocks-poised-to-build-on-trump-tax-inspired-gains-2017-02-10

    Its only been 3 weeks and America is already starting to kick ass again.

      • And what good happens when the stock market crashes ??

        “What do we mean when we say someone has a mental illness? If we are to take the phrase literally, we mean that someone’s mind is ill. But can a mind be ill with disease? To believe so, one must make two serious assumptions: one, that the mind is a tangible object with discrete boundaries, and two, that the health of that object can be measured. Both of these assumptions are wrong. Since nothing called a mind exists that can be looked at under a microscope, the former assumption is wrong. The mind is not an object. It follows that the latter assumption is also wrong because only objects with discrete boundaries can be objectively measured. Thus, it is important to note that mental illness in itself – the idea that a mind is ill, is actually a categorical error, like saying the sky is ill or the color green is healthy. There is no such thing as mental illness except by metaphor. ” http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/info-center/reviving-the-myth-of-mental-illness/

        “We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism,”

        TRUMP 2016 !

        We have like the coolest President ever and people just need to chill out.

        • Sorry, Cat, but bolstering the stock market has not helped the common laborer one iota. The stock market broke 2000 sometime in the early 80s, as I recall. The gap between rich and poor was MUCH lower back then than it is now, as the stock market just broke 20,000. The stock market is a measure of how the wealthy are doing. Meanwhile, the middle class has shrunk and our long-term prospects as a country have shrunk with it. Our greatness economically was based on a large and prosperous middle class. Both parties have worked for big businesses and against small businesses and local workers since Reagan, and Trump is just doubling down on the failed policies that got us here. As Sera suggests, Trump isn’t “crazy,” he’s just entitled and will be the advocate for the other entitled folks he hangs with. The rest of us will continue to suffer.

          • Our greatness economically was based on a large and prosperous middle class. Both parties have worked for big businesses and against small businesses and local workers since Reagan, and Trump is just doubling down on the failed policies that got us here

            The so-called middle class has been basically the better paid sectors of the working class and the lower sectors of the petty bourgeoisie. What’s disappearing is the illusion of the middle class.

            “Our” (not mine, not yours) so-called “greatness,” if world domination can be considered great,” has been based on imperialist conquest, economic exploitation at home, and the devastated condition of competing European industries following WWII.

            Still way off-topic.

          • Well, that’s a bit deeper analysis. Our economic dominance is, of course, based on stealing our land from the native inhabitants and enslaving both them and Africans and profiting off of their free labor. And so on and so on. But most people are not willing to ever go there, are they?

        • “Mental illness” might be applicable if used to mean an imaginary disease that originated and exists solely in the minds of psychiatrists and the sheeple they have duped.

          The fact that they refrain from calling it a brain illness or disorder speaks volumes. Most psychiatrists know it is not linked to a proven physiological condition. They’re in no hurry to enlighten the populace!

  16. As much as I despise that thug we elected, and cannot watch regular television since my “election depression” settled over me, when did we adopt a constitutional amendment prohibiting someone with “mental illness” – however one defines it – from serving in public office, even the Presidency?

    1. Did Richard Nixon have a Paranoid Personality Disorder? As Alan Greenspan (and I am not a big fan of him either) noted in his memoir “The Age of Turbulence,” Nixon was an unstable, paranoid alcoholic.

    For this reason, and because of his racist and anti-Semitic streak, Greenspan declined a position in Nixon’s administration. He then notes that Gerald Ford was the most “psychologically stable” President that he served under- and that includes Reagan, Bush I and Clinton.

    2. George Bush II was at least an “alcoholic in remission.”

    3. Did JFK and Bill Clinton suffer from the emergent Hypersexual Disorder? Its not in the DSM yet, but it will be. And sexual addiction is still considered an unofficial psychiatric diagnoses, with treatment centers and twelve-step programs.

    4. LBJ fits the criteria for a NPD. Reportedly, he “bullied his staff to the point of sadism,” exposed himself in mixed company. He named his private parts as “Jumbo.” In his memoirs, long-term Johnson aid George Reedy portrayed him as a “womanizing, perverted drunkard” – and a narcissistic of the highest order.

    3. Then there is the most disturbed President who ever served in Office, Andrew Jackson, who personally slaughtered thousands of Native-American men, woman and children with his own sword, and directed his troops to slaughter millions more. He enjoyed it. Largely because of Jackson, this nation has broken more than 400 treaties with Native Americans, often days after we signed them (Zinn, Harold). By psychiatric standards, he embodies the psychopath on a genocidal scale.

    4. As an aside, Jimmy Carter saw a UFO and believes in aliens. Yet he is probably the most sincere, most humanitarian and one of the finest statesmen this country has ever produced. Not the best fit for the Presidency during his era in office, but the man has a strong ethical backbone. I used to attend breakfasts at The Carter Center. What most impressed me is how they tackled issues (e.g. Guinea Worm) that flew under the philanthropic radar. He does not chose to pursue the “glamorous” cause, but tackles unpopular problems no one else registers.

    5. Abraham Lincoln suffered from Major Depressive Disorder and wrote poems about suicide. Though a skeptic, he also had visions, according to Doris Kearns Goodwin (Team of Rivals), dreaming three nights in a row about his assassination, recorded in his personal journals.

    6. Winston Churchill suffered from M.D.D. Though often retroactively diagnosed with manic depression, he combined copious amounts of booze with amphetamines, which explains the “mania” – but he helped to save England from the Nazis, won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and served as Prime Minister twice. And he lived to be 90-years-old. despite a mild stroke in 1949.

    7. Few people doubt that Reagan suffered from severe dementia during his second term.

    The point is more modern Presidents qualify as “mentally ill” – as the A.PA. defines it than do not. And as much as I loathe the current moron in office, I would not want the A.P.A. and its vestigial, arbitrary and fictitious criteria to qualify people who run for public office. My rationale should be obvious. Can you imagine Joseph Lieberman as President?

    Now that’s a twisted thought.

    This no defense of Trump. He sickens me- but so does this county and its culture.

    It sickens me that this nation flushed its destiny down the proverbial toilet. Those who voted for him sent a resounding message to the next generation of young people and politicians that its not just okay to prey on women, mock people with disabilities, race-bait, demonize an entire religion, manipulate bankruptcy laws, cheat your debtors, and flaunt federal tax laws with impunity – BUT IT MAKES YOU A WINNER BY AMERICAN STANDARDS. Special note: it takes an insane populace to elect an insane President.

    And everyone knows there are two classes of people in this corrupt culture – winners like Trump and Charlie Sheen…and losers, you know, people like me – who worked hard since the age of 15, through most of college and my entire graduate degree, volunteered for causes that promoted actual values, struggled against all odds to build a better life in a system that is designed to trip you unless you are rich, especially if you don’t conform to traditional norms.

    I have given up on this nation. Anyone who wants to write me a check for $100,000 (after taxes) so I can emigrate back to Paris? Please let me know. The quality of work/life balance, healthcare, retirement, low crimes rates…and the average lifespan is longer there. Its worth the bureaucratic hassles.

    American exceptionalism? Please….

    And don’t say – yeah but Hillary was worse…I had family members who worked at the DOS. Perhaps she is no saint – few people who accumulate that much power are saints, but she is a saint compared that…ugh. I cannot write the name again. It makes me cringe. I hear that fingernails on slate sound in his voice.

      • Check your privilege, oldhead!!! When you bring up the many many men, women, and children of color who have been slaughtered and displaced all around the world because of decisions made by people like Obama and Hillary, it’s almost as if you think that’s a more important issue than the discomfort that liberal Americans feel when Trump says offensive words! You’re ruining their safe space.

  17. Politicians are representatives, and as George Carlin so wisely pointed out over 20 years ago, is it the politicians who “stink” (not the word he used), or, the public? These politicians come from American homes, schools, businesses, and communities, they are nurtured and built by the system around them, they are not islands, they do not pass thru some membrane of an alternative reality.

    So, is this the ultimate denial, projection, deflection, and pathological rationalization by the masses, or, have we gotten what we deserve? It is both, and thus, why Americans as a whole are lost.

    Hey, I’ve been practicing over 20 years, and I have seen a lot, never all, but, at some point, isn’t my sarcastic joke of “if I had a drug that improved insight and judgement, I’d be out of a job” beyond accurate??? But, too many who pass thru my door aren’t so interested to really reexamine insight and judgment, no, they want what is popular, easy and convenient.

    Hence the choices we had last November, and now the fallout. We have the representation we deserve, as of now, unless, we will gain genuine insight and judgment from this current situation?…

    Joel Hassman, MD
    Board Certified Psychiatrist and independent registered voter for 24 years now…

    • Your conclusion is flawed because your premise is flawed. Our elected “representatives” do not represent ordinary voters, but rather the interests of corporations and the wealthy – as per the Princeton study that I linked to in my other comment:

      “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

      Most of our so-called representatives do indeed pass through a membrane on their way to becoming officials, since it takes a lot of money to compete in our political system.

      George Carlin also said, “It’s a big club, and you and I ain’t in it.”

      Saying that average Americans get what they deserve from politicians is blaming the victims of an abusive system.

    • Something bothers me about this statement of yours: “Too many who pass thru my door aren’t so interested to really reexamine insight and judgment, no, they want what is popular, easy and convenient.” I’m not so sure that I’d want you as my therapist. This sounds very judgmental and somewhat snide to me. It feels very cold. How can you really engage with people if this is the way that you feel about them?

      • “Too many who pass thru my door aren’t so interested to really reexamine insight and judgment, no, they want what is popular, easy and convenient.”

        That sounds like a therapist sharing a conclusion he has come to after decades of experience. He is not in a session with a patient, so I think your assumption that he’s judgmental or snide to patients is an unfounded leap. Such a conclusion may be true, but that does not necessarily mean there is not also empathy and a desire to help, does it?

  18. I respect the right of Americans to choose a leader according to the system in place. My mother came from a Republican family – a Christian family that actually worked against slavery. But also from a Redneck family that supported the South.

    The Democrats have had a great run on President Kennedy though his death probably also had its roots with him. I think it’s over. Perhaps it’s time to get out of fantasy land.

    I wonder about a world where people believe more in a mystical chemical imbalance than in the biological realities of the sexual. Wake up. There are realities here.

    And I think it is worth considering that anyone who attempts to really achieve anything is going to be labelled insane. Not to mention an increasingly unpopular figure – but Jesus was labelled insane by his family (as well as all the worthies mentioned by Robert Pfaff). I can’t believe anyone was mad enough to stand up to an absolutely bought off, agenda driven press and a corrupt political establishment. Why is it always Hitler and not Joan of Arc that Trump gets compared to? Can’t imagine a man in armour? Or a pure heart in Winston Churchill? It’s a hero who fights. Bernie didn’t. And neither did Michael Moore.

    I am tired of the mainstream lying going on. Just my opinion. Just my position.

  19. Sera Davidow,

    I liked this article of yours. I am sure i had read other articles your wrote, since i remember your face.
    I also like you reply to the comments of the articles you make. That is useful, and helps the typical poster to further underststand things. Some authors have more articles than posts and i find it funny 🙂

    And in no way i want to direct the theme of your articles, or the personalities that you focus.

    Just wanted to point that: Allen Frances is a “heavyweigth”, and not a easy target (despite having weakeness). He is a mixed bag (a wolf in sheep sheep clothes… seems to me), talks the talk, but does NOT walk the walk. Some people gets decieved by him.

    As for Trump, Hillary or Obama… frankly there are far better USA citizens.
    Obama is past, so is Hillary. i dont care about if DDT is: a narcisist or a Gaslighter. Both things are bad.

    So i value your article, yes.

    That combo: “suffering/impaired” is tricky. And important. Is used as a weapon against SZ.
    They say we suffer (even that we dont complain). But somehow they consider that since we dont have “normal lives” we must suffer… a lot. IS NOT TRUE.

    And at the same time… the things we complain, the things we complain repeatedly… and that HURT US… are relativized to zero. Ignored. We are told to: “forget that”. “Move on”.

    So… we are treated like kids. By Allen Frances too. That know-it-all…

  20. uprising,

    I took the time to read the article of Allen Frances.
    I also read the comments (more than 50 at the time).

    I guess that experienced readers can “filter” the political distractions… autoatically.. and not even be aware of it. That was my case. That i saw of interesting in that article i already posted at this very same thread.

    Havin myself worked with politicians… is silly to see them as black or white (Democratic or Republican).

    Is the DSM democratic? Or is the DSM republican? Is a silly question, that takes nowhere.
    Both… democrats and republicans are “likely” sold. I am at other continent, i dont care f Robert Whitaker votes for A. I dont care if Allen Frances votes for B.

    I know i like the books from Whitaker.
    I dont care where: oldhead, Frank or Julie vote/or dont vote. Is a non-issue.

    I care for justice, world peace, and the rigth to choose and live free.
    ……………..

    And uprising, i dont think the comment from Marie was: “respectful and makes some valid points”.
    In my opinion (as i already said), her comment was neither. I gave her the choice to elevate the debate.
    ……………..

    Of the 3 books of Whitaker i have and have reads, i dont see politics as the main issue.
    What is see here is try to create non-issues and division, and create tabus.

    The topic is: DSM, diagnosis (and such issues).

    • Anti P
      The larger picture impacts directly on the topic, and to deny that is (trying to be diplomatic, here), *silly*.

      There’s big money in the “DSM and diagnosis (and such issues)”. It’s a *business*. It’s a *business* that makes money off people in distress. Marketing, capitalism…it’s all related, and to limit the discussion to just one part of the issue resolves nothing.

  21. Hurrah Sera! Wonderful article! And the comments, too.

    One comment not dealt with in my opinion had to do with calling our country “sick.”

    If we are adverse to using DSM criteria to describe a President, partly because it strengthens the medical model, why use this medical term “sick” to delineate our society?

    It seems to me that it is easier to use the sick word than to actually use words to describe what’s going on.

    If there was a polio epidemic in the US, one might claim sickness. But what actions does one take to heal a sick society? Give it a pill. Perhaps “insane” is a better word, as it has legal implications?

    I’d like to see more detail about what’s going on instead of using the medical word sick, please.

  22. humanbeing,
    Well, lets see:

    Is mental health a big business (for Pharma, psychiatrits, psychologists, nurses, etc)?
    Pharma making drugs is a big business?
    APA profits $$$$$$ & gets power from the DSM-I; DSM-II; DSM-III; DSM-IV; DSM-5?
    So money is envolved?
    Democrats are politicians?
    Republicans are politicians?
    Politics and prostituiion envolve money?
    Doctors (in general), are not neutral?
    The world is not fair and is a violent place?
    What is new?

    THE LARGER PICTURE?
    Well, the larger picture is complicated, and i dont pretend to know the “larger picture”.
    And i find wise “know my facts, before i…” like Mark Twain said.

    So, going to the “larger picture” will take this thread somewhere?
    Or going for the larger picture, will:

    a) divide us further;

    b) create more tabus: “FROM THIS MOMENT ON, UNTIL OUR BELOVED PRESIDENT ENDS ITS MANDATE/ QUITS/ BE IMPEACHED, NOBODY HAS THE RIGTH TO DSM-DIAGNOSE HIM/ HIS POLITICS/ HIS ACTS/ HIS LAWS (like the APA wants).

    c) NO AUTHOR AT MIA CAN BE: PRO-REPUBLICAN, or PRO-DEMOCRAT.

    d) We will make a petition for big pharma start to make new psychiatric drugs for Republicans (that will have Trump image at the label); and psychiatric drugs for the Democrats (that will have Hillary image at the label). Both drugs will have a text disclaimer that will potenciate the “placebo effect”, for each party.

    e) Going to the “larger picture” takes the participants off-topic. Like Jerry and Marie wanted, and how they say? “line, sink,… yummy”.

    f) Marketing, capitalism… way off-topic. I am glad the Robert Whitaker books exist. They show the picture well enough. Some could make a wider picture? At the risk losing the picture, yes.

    h) We, the SZ, dont care is HALDOL is democrat or is Republican Haldol. It hurts us just the same. Haldol was used at the USRR too. Is used in Russia.
    ………………….

    The small picture is the article of Sera Davidow: DSM. Diagnosis.
    Not Allen Frances, not Trump, not republicans/democrats baby figths.
    Those are side-issues used to put a end to the discussion of this important (small picture), 2 issues: DSM lies and fake diagnosis.

    • Anti P
      I will respond to Sera’s article, or to the comments here, in whatever way I feel is useful to the general readership.

      Psychology is a tool of social control. Big picture.

      You are not the editor here and it is not your place to limit the discussion to whatever *you* see as acceptable. Geez.

  23. I believe that Trump’s election to the highest office of our land, and as the leader of the free countries of the world, is indicative of things going on in our society as a whole. I don’t think this is about who voted for him and who didn’t. By the fact that we couldn’t do better than we did as far as candidates went right on down the line I believe tells us that we need to look at what is going on in our nation as well as in Washington.

    I think that we’re willing as a people to clutch at empty straws that are offered to us by politicians of both parties because of our own fears and delusions. I believe that many of us fondly look back at the 1950’s as such an ideal time (but it wasn’t ideal for Native Americans, African-Americans, nor people of Hispanic background) and are trying to get back there through the empty promises of people like Trump. Let us face the reality: jobs are not going to return to America in the numbers of the 50’s. Automation and outsourcing are not going to stop. Why are we not willing to admit this and then begin working to perhaps change the economic/political system that’s brought us to this point in time.

    Instead we look to Washington to the professional politicians (politicians were not supposed to remain in office for 40 or 50 years; remember Cincinatus(sp) and Rome?) to come up with new solutions. And of course they are not going to do this because it would then put them out of very lucrative positions to make money hand over fist. It’s not an accident that there are no poor Representatives or Senators in Washington. You have to have piles of money or the backing of people like the Koch brothers to even run (and there are always strings attached to monies given by those like the Koch’s and other of their ilk). Since when do our politicians listen to us, their constituents, and actually do what we ask them to do? And don’t point to Trump and what he’s doing because he’s not really going to come through on much of anything that he promised. One of my wonderful senators keeps his local office closed and locked, although staff are inside, because he’s afraid of what he might hear from the large numbers of people who are trying to get in there. He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say!

    I’m with Sera, I think it’s ridiculous to call Trump “mentally ill”, even though some are doing so openly on Sunday morning news shows. Trump knows exactly what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, he is in his right mind. This is what makes everything so scary. We need to get involved on the local level and become elected ourselves so that we can begin making policy changes on the local levels that actually benefit people.

    • I would have to disagree on the last point especially. Running for office is more of a capitulation to the system, unless a particular candidacy has been collectively chosen to put forth a particular agenda or achieve a tactical goal. In general though, “elections” are how they suck people into wasting their energy and becoming disillusioned with “politics,” which too many people confuse with bourgeois electoral activity. If the movement is strong enough it won’t make a big difference who is in office.

  24. This entire cart and pony show is a sham.

    There are only three requirements to hold the office of President of the United States.
    1. Attain the age of 35 years
    2. Be a “natural-born” citizen of the United States.
    3. Reside in the United States for at least 14 years.

    That’s it.

    The Founders wisely did not require any other tests for office. So what if Donald Trump did somehow magically gain a diagnosis? Congress would then have to pass a law creating a test for public office. Is that what people want? A test saying those labeled mentally ill are unfit for the presidency? A look through History suggests that some of this country’s best presidents have suffered from bouts of depression and/or mania. Are we entering a new era where we tell children they can be anything they want to be when they grow up unless they are mentally ill? The fear and groupthink required to march down this road should put all those still thinking clearly on alert.

    I’m far more afraid of his cooperation with an extremely conservative Congress whose views are antithetical to my progressive views than I am of him being responsible with the nuclear codes. There is nothing in Trump’s history to suggest that he isn’t in complete control of his own behavior at all times. I’m not at all worried he’ll have a mental break and nuke us all.

    • Yes, I too a fear an alliance with Congress at this point. I also fear his great love for the Russian government. Russia has never been our friend and never will be. It’s always been intent on our destruction or domination. I am shocked by how many Republicans these days are have a favorable view of the Russian government and by Trump’s love affair with Putin, a man who is nothing more than a murdering thug.

      Your post also reminded me of a man who had to remove himself from a campaigne for President because it was revealed that he’d been treated for depression earlier in his life. I think his name was Eagleton? His popularity plummeted immediately when it was known that he was “mentally ill”. Of course, back then people really weren’t referred to as being “mentally ill”. If they experienced issues people said that they’d had a “breakdown” and had to take some time off to get themselves back together again.

      • Russia has never been our friend and never will be.

        Stephen,

        I’m sincerely surprised that you would allow yourself to be sucked in by this revived cold war nonsense. And who do you mean when you say “our”? American capitalist guns have been pointed at Russia ever since the (now defeated) revolution; it’s hardly a way to generate goodwill.

        • I suspect that I’m probably older than you are and remember a lot of the cold war. I also had an uncle who did clandestine work for the American government and he had some very interesting tales to tell about what he did in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

          And of course, we can always agree to disagree.

          • Well, the specter of nuclear war was one of my earliest existential fears, and I remember “duck and cover.” I’m not sure what the “disagreement” is about, or why you think that “Russians” are natural enemies of the American people; they have understandable reasons for their attitudes, just like the Iranians and Palestinians.

  25. I just read the Daily News article that’s linked to this one — it’s totally hilarious on several levels. Both in terms of the standard blatantly absurd psychiatric explanations of unpopular or “crazy” opinions and beliefs in “mental illness” terms, and because the same generalized “personality defects” which are supposed to be evidence of Trump’s “mental illness” can easily be ascribed to many politicians of all stripes.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/shrinks-break-silence-president-trump-exhibits-traits-m-article-1.2957688

  26. You know, this might be an old story

    http://inthesetimes.com/article/1970

    http://heavy.com/news/2016/11/2016-exit-polls-did-hillaty-clinton-win-presidential-election-voter-fraud-donald-trump-lose-rigged/

    Instead of fussing whether Trump is sane (whatever that it supposed to mean, as if “sanity” isn’t dysfunctional by merit of the word), I wonder whether what might fix things is NOT thinking someone is crazy who points out that the whole system has a few screws loose and isn’t in working condition.

    And this isn’t a statement for or against ANY candidate, it’s simply pointing out what needs looking into, and hasn’t happened. Since Bill Clinton’s second term the exit polls have been off, and would this have happened in any other country, the USA might very likely have been hailing that as undemocratic (that the exit polls didn’t match).

    Or blaming it on fake news… you know like weapons of mass destruction somewhere that were never there?

    Fortunately there are things that transcend all of that (this), but that again might be considered as crazy would someone invest in that instead.

  27. I think we are getting off track here.

    Sera is not arguing about Trump’s sanity, but about using the abusive criteria of the DSM for labeling. This publicity towards a false medical model of “mental illness” is bad for everyone. And it goes nowhere towards settling problems caused by the current new administration.

    It is reminiscent of the news that all of the mass killings were done by “mentally ill” people when really it had to do with the medications they were on, not their mental states per se. But because of Big Pharma, this fact will not be in mainstream media.

    The media have a lot of control. When they say Trump has narcissistic personality disorder this promotes the biomedical model and does not stop him. Much better to take some political action and not get all hung up on Trump’s diagnosis.

    • If you’re referring to me being “offtrack” you missed my point. Fussing about whether Trump is sane — which Sera isn’t doing, nor did I say she was: it’s the topic that OTHER people are — is avoiding looking at how the whole system is corrupt that makes such erroneous decisions about diseases that are only alleged rather than proven biological phenomenon, this while the “treatment” DOES correlate with real biological diseases. All to judge someone’s behavior.

      Fussing about whether Trump is sane is more of the mental indulgence people give themselves to defer from what’s really going on, whether it’s an epidemic of mental illness of alleged diseases not proven to be organic while the “treatment” DOES cause organic disease, or whether it’s that there wasn’t due attention to whether there were truly fair elections.

      https://www.democracynow.org/2016/12/13/greg_palast_by_rejecting_recount_is

      Fussing about, or using the idea that Trump is Mentally ill as a focus point is nothing but an ad hominem attack (there are a lot of people with a “diagnosis” that might make a more functional leader than any we’ve had in a long time or ever had). Trump trying to make out that a bunch of illegal aliens prevented him from having a majority is more ad hominem activity, this time by him.

      https://www.democracynow.org/2017/1/27/will_trumps_claims_of_election_fraud

      If you weren’t referring to me as being “off topic” then I misunderstood. But I find it quite typical that I try to point out where investigation of what might be wrong might be directed to make change, rather than towards someone’s “sanity,” and if what I say points too much to what people think they can just assume is working or objective but isn’t, then it could be called crazy or off topic.

      Trump’s stance on having a task force regarding vaccines is quite progressive, actually, in stark contrast to most of the rest of his platform. Many people would say that’s “crazy” as well, that he sees there might be a correlation between the epidemic of autism and the MRI vaccine.

      !!

  28. What symptom of Narcissistic Personality Disorder doesn’t he clearly exhibit? We may not have clinical analysis with him on the couch, but that does not require us to stick our heads in the sand.

    From the Mayo Clinic Website: “DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

    1. Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
    2. Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
    3. Exaggerating your achievements and talents
    4. Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
    5. Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
    6. Requiring constant admiration
    7. Having a sense of entitlement
    8. Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
    9. Taking advantage of others to get what you want
    10. Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
    11. Being envious of others and believing others envy you
    12. Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

    “Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.”

    • Please always remember “diagnostic criteria” is voted upon by the members of the American Psychiatric Association. There is no real objective criteria. Of course, in “dealing” with humans can there ever be objective criteria? Psychiatrists and other medical and health care professionals have deluded themselves about this for years. There are excellent descriptions of “human personalities and expressed behaviors” although still “flawed” in the Enneagram, Myers Briggs, and other personality/temperament analysis.
      However, in the case of the current president, he is such a danger to the security, freedom and stability of not only this country, but the whole of Mother Earth, we really need to “bury the hatchet” and find a non-violent way to assist him to a new job/career.
      The 25th amendment could be utilized. Investigations through various governmental agencies and Congress are being attempted. I cannot predict the outcome.
      What is important is that we want to bring public our cause and that if we continue to continue our American lifestyle, though “flawed” but still in the capabilities of trying to make all the lives of Americans and all Earthlings better, if necessary, we may need to bury our “cause” let him be deemed “Mentally Ill” and then after the dust settles; bring our cause to the forefront like all good causes.
      We have a great deal of work and education to accomplish; but as it stands now with the current president, our very important cause will be lost; we will not be heard in the moment to moment crises of these days.
      Sometimes, it is more courageous to see something played out; because although our cause is probably one of the most important causes of this century; it will die if we continue as a nation under the present administration.

  29. Yes. Just one example would be that the Republican Congress and Fox News and other apologists often downplay the problem here by saying things like “he’s just a different kind of President,” as if he just has quirks. We all have quirks. This is something far more dangerous, and we have put immense power in his hands. Explaining how the symptoms he so flagrantly exhibits fit hand in glove with a likely diagnosis is far more likely to get people (voters) to realize that we have made a huge error. It is not discrimination to not want a mentally ill person be President, is it?

    Beyond Trump, I am disheartened by the current trend to apologize for diagnosing people because of fears of stigma. Its not the diagnosis we need to fear – it is the people who don’t understand that many people have troubled minds and who would not offer help. We do harm to deny the diagnosis for politically correct reasons.

  30. Zippy321,
    1) Have you had a DSM diagnosis?
    2) Had you been treated against your will?
    3) Have you been abused by health professionals?
    4) Have you seen that after a DSM diagnosis (and get medicated), some people will NEVER get back to work?

    I think you are one of the diagnosed (if you are… you are a lost case).
    The content of your posts turns the truth… upside down.

    Theories… Zippy321, theories.

    • “I think you are one of the diagnosed”

      AntiP, you are being quite generous in calling your post “thinking.”

      I lived with someone for seven years who was ultimately diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Although I only knew she had problems both before and after we married, I did not know with any more specificity what the issues were as she refused to get her help. As someone who tried for so very long to make things better and get my loved one help, I am intimately knowledgable about this topic from the inside, but not in the manner you so flippantly suggest. I have long realized that, had we had a diagnosis, we could have done much more to help her and our relationship. Hiding from the diagnosis was a very bad thing.

      Trump, on the other hand, exhibits his symptoms publicly every day for all to see, though there will eventually be a some book that discloses the behind the scenes stuff that most certainly impacts himself, his family and colleagues on a daily basis. Here, I am more concerned about the next election because he chose to enter into a job for which his mental illness is – should be disqualifying. That is not true with most jobs, but it certainly is in terms of POTUS.

      In a way, advocating that we not talk about his problems is just another way of lying to the American voters.

      • Zippy321,
        So… you were never DSM diagnosed. That explains all.

        Zippy321 you are kinda of a… “Expert of Swimming Movies”… that never touched the water.

        So many things that we (the ex-users), need to do… and some Trump fans need attention. Because “they know” better than the ex-users. NOT.

      • “Here, I am more concerned about the next election because he chose to enter into a job for which his mental illness is – should be disqualifying. That is not true with most jobs, but it certainly is in terms of POTUS.”

        Why should it be disqualifying? Nearly half of American presidents have suffered with what we now term mental illness.

        The real problem that you’re refusing to face is that we have, in the past four presidencies, greatly expanded presidential powers. If that only scares you when you believe the president may be unstable emotionally, or disagree with you, you have your head in the sand. There is certainly room for vigorous debate on checking the power of the executive office. Openly discriminating against all potential candidates because they may fit the definition of a currently defined mental illness is just that – discrimination.

        • “Why should it be disqualifying?”

          This is just an absurd statement. He is Commander in Chief, finger on the button, able to start war. He is obviously unbalanced. His mental illness is already wreaking havoc on our nation, and it is only going to get worse, as stress is not the friend of the personality disorder. There is a reason that Presidents leave office looking 10-15 years older than when they arrived.

          “Nearly half of American presidents have suffered with what we now term mental illness.” Depression and similar issues are nothing compared to what we have in Trump. He’s a danger in this position.

          • I repeat:

            The real problem that you’re refusing to face is that we have, in the past four presidencies, greatly expanded presidential powers. If that only scares you when you believe the president may be unstable emotionally, or disagree with you, you have your head in the sand.

            Your position then, would be that it’s OKAY for a single person to control the nuclear launch codes? Really? You have no problem with a single person declaring war on another country? You have no issues with unchecked presidential powers until you think the president is nuts?

            Reagan suffered from Alzheimer’s dementia in the later part of his presidency and nobody worried. George W Bush lied to the American people and destroyed Iraq, causing our current problems with ISIS, and he has no diagnosis.

            The problem is that the executive branch wields too much power.

            From an addiction.com article:

            Here’s a look at some of the presidents and the mental disorders they were, or may have been, affected by:

            Depression: James Madison (4th), John Quincy Adams (6th), Franklin Pierce (14th). Abraham Lincoln (16th) suffered a depression so severe that friends feared he’d commit suicide. Calvin Coolidge (30th) fell into a bout of depression after the loss of his teenage son, who died suddenly of sepsis, a fatal condition caused by a staph infection.
            Social Phobia: Thomas Jefferson (3rd), Grant and Calvin Coolidge (30th). Grant also retreated into alcohol.
            Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Woodrow Wilson (28th)
            Mania: Theodore Roosevelt (26th) and Lyndon B. Johnson (36th) displayed manic energy, an indicator of bipolar disorder.

            Grant was an alcoholic – a risk factor far greater than the “mental illness” boogeyman, for all types of violence and irrationality. John Adams was frequently deeply depressed – as evidenced by the letters between he and his wife Abigail.

            Why is it you think those with personality disorders are so dangerous?

          • Do you like twisting people’s words for fun or do you really not comprehend what I said? Your argumentative nature is wearing. I am starting to suspect your ex was not the only one in the relationship with a problem. You don’t seem to be able to handle all the people here disagreeing with you.

          • The biggest problem here is that you keep moving the target. First you say that simply being diagnosed with a mental illness should be disqualifying. Then you go on to make distinctions between certain illnesses as not being as bad as others. For some reason, you’ve isolated personality disorders as being exceptionally dangerous. You’ve presented zero scientific or factual evidence for your opinions. I will reengage when you present evidence for your biases.

        • I respect your opinion; and yes, “homosexuality” was once considered a mental illness diagnosis; however, one’s sexuality or gender has absolutely nothing to bear on their ability to govern or lead a nation. One’s particular gifts, talents, or skills are given “amoral” and thus one can choose to use them for good or not which is not dependent on one’s sexuality or gender.

      • OK zippy you exposed your bias just like that. I hereby diagnose you with a power-tripping personality disorder which presents as some kind of co-dependent “relationship” with a woman who has been targeted via psychiatric labels as the “cause” of the trouble. There are drugs for that btw.

  31. Sera, I have no idea about your situation, so I am not commenting on that. I am certainly not an advocate for taking anyones kids, etc. based on a diagnoses unless there is behavior that suggests that there is a danger to kids, etc., so please don’t suggest otherwise. However, your own situation aside, are you suggesting that people don’t struggle with mental issues like personality disorders?

  32. Zippy321,
    I am not going to argue with you. No. It would be lost time.
    But i apreciate you had time to reply.

    I hope (at some time in the future), the readers of MIA dont take so much time to call: “this duck is a duck”.
    ……………

    Anyway Zippy321, read: “Anatomy of a Illnesss” by Robert Whitaker. He is only a journalist, (not a doctor, sorry).

    Of course… “Whitaker is a menace to society” (as said by a “real doctor”: Lieberman) 🙂

  33. Kindredspirit, your advocacy for a more restricted executive power is well worth some debate. Unfortunately, it has little to do with the issue of whether Trump is mentally ill, other than to support the conclusion that the illness question is even more important today because the executive branch is currently vested with so much power.

    You suggest above that I think “any” mental illness is disqualifying. You are just putting words in my mouth inappropriately. Obviously there are illnesses that are more dangerous or debilitating than others. Trump may be high functioning, but his NPD is disqualifying to me as it focuses on himself (did you listen to his last 90 minute press conference about himself?), blaming others based on his own insecurity and an obvious penchant to react not to facts but to his out of control emotions. Facts mean nothing to the man, and he is run by his emotions – that is dangerous in a President.

    Throughout the campaign and still to this day, we have heard apologists for Trump note that he is a “different kind of President” yada yada yada. Well, that is true, but its a little like saying the universe is a big place.

    It is more and more clear with each passing day that Trump is unhinged in a way that no other President has ever been known to be. None of the past Presidents you name are in the same ballpark. Give me Grant and his purported alcoholism any day of the week – at least he would wake up sober.

    • And if we had elected the D version of the corporate ruse that is called ‘democracy’, we’d be looking at war with Russia right now. The Ds are teaming up with the ‘intelligence community’ (you know, the folks who brought you ‘weapons of mass distraction’ and ‘gassing his own people’), the MSM, and the Military Industrial Complex to try to derail the current plutocrat in charge. What a joke; except it’s not.

      Trump is a cartoon, but they’re all dangerous. It’s all about money, and the 99.9% are losing big time by not looking at the actual problem: the economic system.

      CNN and MSNBC et al are foaming at the mouth hysterical, ranting about ‘fake news’–and the *irony* is that they’ve been onboard with that shit for a long, long long time.

      You might learn a something by changing your sources for information. (And btw; who funds the MSM? Do you think those entities has your best interest at heart???)

      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/02/wearing-white-resistance-looks-like-americas-heartland.html

        • What’s becoming clear is that somehow things have become reversed, and the two sides seem to be exchanging jerseys. Totalitarianism, warmongering and domestic repression have in many ways become more the turf of the Democrats, with lots of Newspeak going on, along with more money for “evidence based early intervention,” etc. for anyone who isn’t down with the drill. While what passes for the left is energized they should direct some of that energy into making sure the Pelosi’s, Clintons and Bookers never have their fingers on the Democratic buttons again.

          • The Democratic Party is too far gone. The current millionaire Wall St loving leaders of the party are completely tone deaf to the struggles of the voting class. In my wet dreams, the federal lawsuit against the DNC bankrupts the party and a new People’s Progressive Party emerges in it’s place.

  34. Steve, whether NPD and other personality disorders are caused by nature or nurture or, more likely in my opinion, some unfortunate combination of both is certainly a question that I cannot answer. While I do not agree that BPD is wholly born of abuse and tend to think it is likely an additive factor, this is admittedly pure speculation on my part.

    With Trump, if you’ve watched the very good PBS Frontline documentary on his history, he certainly had a father who may have caused some negative impact on his psyche, so who knows?

    However, I do not at all think that he is simply an “asshole” as you say because it is learned behavior. There is an illness here, and your question sort of implies choice.

    [Forgive the response down here, but there is no “reply” button available below your post.]

    • Steve, on your question of whether I “really think that assigning a DSM diagnosis improves one’s understanding of the problem?,” I do indeed. I can only speak deeply as to my own relationship with someone with BPD, but had I known before that the behavior I was seeing was not specific to my ex, but, rather, a shared illness with common symptoms, that would have helped me cope in the very least. I think it would have helped her as well, as well as helping her family understand and better empathize.

      For example, knowing that the otherwise incomprehensible emotional meltdowns I was seeing manifest again and again could be better understood as an intense fear of abandonment would certainly have helped. When someone finally explained to me the concept of splitting, it was like I had been blind and someone gave me glasses to clearly see what I had been seeing and not comprehending for years. I would say the same of the threats of self-harm. Hiding a diagnosis is the antitheses of truth and greater learning.

      When you ask the following, you seem to be asking about best course of treatment, I think: “Isn’t it more effective just to talk about what behavior they engage in that is distressing or problematic? Wouldn’t we understand more if we asked the client about his/her perspective on what the problem is in their terms, rather than trying to force them into our artificial frame of reference?” I don’t know if that is more effective in terms of treatment or not, as we never got that far, unfortunately. From my perspective, if someone told me that my ex was having severe emotional problems, that and $4 would get me a cup of coffee at Starbucks.

      You don’t vaguely tell someone they have a pain in their leg. You tell them you think they are suffering from a bone fracture, or a pulled muscle or whatever the evidence suggests it to be.

        • Nah. Zippy was a perfect saint. He was “normal” with flawless genes and perfect biochemistry in his brain. Any marital problems were owing to his evil, crazy spouse who refused to get the “treatment” that only she required to make the marriage idyllic.

          Sounds like he didn’t even get a shrink to verify his opinion, before he set about gaslighting her.

          Lest I sound unduly harsh, Zippy is not the first bigot flaunting his hatred toward his “crazy” ex. It happens all the time on various websites.

          Oh, I’m sure someone being abused by the psych system is difficult to live with. Suffering people often are.

          Perhaps the spouse really is abusive, adulterous, controlling. In which case, why not refer to the spouse or ex as abusive or controlling? Nah. They have to blame EVERYONE with a psych label. Meds compliant consumers as well as psych survivors. Sickening!

          The fact that it’s always the “normals” badmouthing the “schizos” or “bipolars” they married speaks volumes. You never hear one of the “bipolars” talk about a controlling, emotionally abusive ex who is supposedly sane. Happens all the time though.

          A “mentally ill” spouse makes a great marital scapegoat!

          • In other words, touche!

            FD — Maybe you should get a different screen name — doesn’t the current one sort of bring you down each time you use it? Negative projection and all that. (Just a recurring thought.)

  35. I entirely agree with Zippy about the importance of using common sense when judging Trump, and his competency to lead the most powerful nation, primarily based upon military power. We need all the information we can get, about the mental/emotional/moral competency of a president. We shouldn’t be squeamish about applying DSM criteria upon the powerful. Otherwise it remains only a way of manipulating the less powerful in this society. It is not a matter of ANY DSM diagnosis that is relevant in judging qualifications of leadership but certainly conditions like Narcissicistic PD and Psycopathic or Sociopathic disorders should not be sweeped under the carpet to save the “feelings” of others.

    Also I don’t believe that upon receiving a DSM diagnosis one instantly becomes a victim. I sought DSM diagnosis for bipolar to confirm what I had been suffering for years prior. But at the same time I didn’t passively accept the “cures” because it never made logical sense to take forever drugs for emotional experience that was not permanent. I didn’t buy the lies of drugs and forever therapy …. but too many people do. And because I received a Diagnosis from a psychiatrist paying him out of pocket without insurance, I was able to avoid the problem of being stuck with a label that would end up stigmatizing me.

    It isn’t that I have a problem with the DSM but rather how it is unfairly used to control people’s lives. Obviously, I don’t agree with all the DSM conclusions of Bipolar, but 75 % truth and I am making up a random figure to learn from is better than 0 %.

    The privacy issue of a DSM diagnosis is of paramount importance to the average private citizen …. but when one is serving the public, in charge of life and death of not just family members but of nations …. one needs to be mentally, morally, emotionally competent … obviously we as a nation haven’t demanded this of any of our leaders’ … primarily because … it seems only the elite classes are free to rule no matter how incompetent they are.

    What is interesting/horrifying to me, is not the fact that Trump’s psychopathology which mirrors aspects of our societal sickness is being called out by some media, citizens, etc … but rather that not Everybody sees this. He is the Emperor without clothes. If any of our neighbors’, friends, or family members spoke/acted in public like he has done, we would instantly question their mental/emotional stabilty. But for too many in this nation, his wealth and power wash his sins/sickness away. But what is ironic, is that his actions bely his actual mental/emotional discipline to carry out one of the most demanding jobs in the world.

    • Did it ever occur to you that what you see as “incompetence” could actually be part of a conscious ruling class strategy?

      Like others here you fail to define one aspect of Trump which differs from any other politician other than in style. You are blinded by your attachment to the “mental health” scam, and what is horrifying to many of us is this insistence on pursuing one’s political agenda indirectly via psychiatric labels and accusations. If you are truly an opponent of elitism and power-mongering put your analysis out there, don’t use “mental illness” jargon as a crutch.

      • Please reread the DSM symptoms on NPD and then watch start to finish his press conference of two days ago. It is you who is “blinded” if you can’t see that this man needs help. “Ruling class strategy” – ha. The strategy is with Bannon and those who are in his inner circle. As for Trump, he is a high functioning ill man who, like a dog who caught the squirrel – is now in the whirlwind. Its only going to get worse, Oldhead.

        Thanks, Lizza.

      • Oldhead, sorry to say. I have read your comments in many other blogs, and you always stick to the same analysis of politics that is over a century old now. I am not saying that these arguments have no validity … but please lets open up the windows and let some fresh air of diverse opinions.

        Personally I see our Federal system as a corporate oligarchy but I think it is a total cop-out to just say all politicians are corrupt by the system therefore why even bother participating. That is how we got an extreme sort of character in the whitehouse from 25 per cent of eligible voters.

        And I do Not believe that Trump’s administration has no connection whatsoever to mental or emotional health nationally or individually, unless of course you live in an elite bubble where you can afford to pay for private health care, and have no need for social security benefits, and are unconcerned about the further dismantling of the social safety net and are a shareholder of Big Pharma.

        • you always stick to the same analysis of politics that is over a century old now

          If you mean Marxism a) It is a science of political economy which encompasses all facets of society and human interaction; b) It endures — like physics — because of its validity as a science; c) Its basic principles are not stale dogma but applicable to changing and evolving historical circumstances.

          As for the last paragraph, I’m not sure what it has to do with Trump’s mental state.

  36. Sera, I am replying here to your comment two above because the website is now not offering me the ability to “Reply.” Curious.

    In any event, there is nothing wrong with the term “high functioning.” It is aptly descriptive. It is not – sensibly – understood as harmful. It simply distinguishes some from those whose mental issues prevent that.

    The world is tiring more and more of people telling other people how to speak, rather than trying to communicate about the topic at hand and make progress.

    • “In any event, there is nothing wrong with the term “high functioning.” It is aptly descriptive. It is not – sensibly – understood as harmful.”

      It does little to describe. It does much to discriminate – against both groups – both those deemed high and low. It is understood as harmful by those who have had it applied against them. Words matter differently to different communities. I don’t need to be black to know that using the n-word is harmful. I don’t need to be gay to know that calling people faggots hurts. Most service users cringe at words like ‘crazy’ and ‘psycho’. Words do matter. Most of us posses enough empathy to be able to identify with the harm someone else feels even if we wouldn’t personally find those words harmful to ourselves.

      • Good grief, “high functioning” is nothing like the obviously and intentionally negative words you cite – “crazy”, “psycho”, “faggot”, etc. To suggest otherwise is silly at best, and an intentional effort by you to paint this useful term with those negative connotations.

        It does no one any good to look for negativity where there isn’t any, and it does harm to society if we must narrow acceptable speech in the absence of real negativity to conform to the standards of those with egg-shell thin sensibilities.

        • It is the height of arrogance as a non-service user to come to a website geared toward current and ex-service users who’ve been harmed by the system and tell them what language they are allowed to be sensitive to and call names for their sensitivity.

          Screw off, Zippy. I haven’t got time for the patriarchy. #RESIST!

          • “High-functioning” is another garbage label; like any diagnosis or being labeled as “seriously and pervasively mentally ill” of which they tried to force all those labels on me; but, I am just fine now; only still trying to get through the sometimes evil withdrawal and de-tox symptoms. I still think everyone misses the point. One need not be diagnosed or labelled as mentally ill to be termed a danger. Sadly, this current man in the office is a danger to our once credible American democracy and therefore the democracy of the Earth. If he is labelled “mentally ill” this would be a ruse and the real issues at hand are going to basically get “thrown under the rug” so to speak.

  37. That someone couldn’t relate to what was going on with their spouse until she had a diagnosis, this is no way at all suddenly validates psychiatric diagnosis, or validates that they then know what’s going on maintaining that the “diagnosis” explains it. Such diagnosis would have to have a history of solving the problems they pertain to, and instead we have an epidemic. And with the whole rise in problems incurred – people drugged for a chemical imbalance that the treatment causes rather than it’s ever been found to truly occur in the “disease” that’s being treating, we have more reason to consider this isn’t bringing the problem to light. And when we look at how diagnosis is correlating with false information given out based on guild interests and drug company profits, one isn’t “crazy” nor does one have a break from reality when one determines how the quite profound evidence pointing to that what ISN’T solving the problem actually doesn’t solve it nor does it clarify it.

    If taking a look at someone’s behavior actually corresponded with statistically solving the problem, then this would be a different case. But I don’t see the DSM actually doing that, and I don’t see it as a necessary ingredient.

    There are other ways of looking at what’s going on, and they aren’t invalid when not using DSM terminology.

  38. The psychiatric authorities say that one in five experience mental illness in a given year. If Trump isn’t fit to be President with a mental illness, then those people (one in five PLUS) could without too much difficulty be seen as not fit to vote. And you have it seems what the people who put Trump in office are looking for to disqualify votes that might NOT go for him.

    Or is it that mentally ill people (NOT traumatized but mentally ill) all voted for Trump. *hint* I might be getting sarcastic by now…

    • Yes, of course this is the next step. And we’ve already got a great starting point with the NICS background check system. It would be very easy to disqualify folks on that list from voting. D’s just tried to require those on SSI be added to the list. So poor people with anxiety serious enough to receive disability would lose their 2nd amendment rights but those who worked long enough to get full benefits but just as severely effected would not get reported. It’s a privilege based system that has nothing to do with reality, but the general public has accepted it so it’s an ideal way to silence poor disabled activists.

  39. I really do empathize with the deep concern people have about the stigmatization of mental/emotional illness.

    And I believe Zippy does, too.

    Unfortunately, it seems that people are projecting their personal traumas with diagnosis, DSM and discounting what good it could do in certain cases wholesale. Which seems to be just as extreme as a Doctor claiming thr infallibility of a professional resource that is massively revised every few years.

    I grew up with a father who terrorized me and my family, who was a textbook case of Narcissistic PD, as well as Bipolar, and possibly Personality Disorder …. had he been diagnosed with any of the above, perhaps that could have inspired him to heal himself. But even reading the DSM descriptions gave me a HUGE relief .recogning that his pathological treatment of me and other family members was not normal.

    And I would be even more thrilled of Trump sought help ….

    • lizadeeza
      I understand you being at a loss to understand what went on in your youth, and am in no way negating that.
      But quite a few of the people here are very clear.
      I don’t see them projecting their personal trauma, although that isn’t negated, it’s about what the practice of diagnosing people has done in general, and how that isn’t reported. And how people have been re-traumatized by the mental health system AFTER they have had an abusive parent.
      And there are MANY people who have experienced what you have, and instead of this subjunctive hope you have that your father would have been helped with diagnosis, it’s that after they experienced abuse from their parents, which could have been extreme sexual abuse as well. Instead of the emotional help they needed, they were put on a whole array of psychiatric drugs while being diagnosed THEMSELVES. This, instead of helping, disabled their ability to work through the trauma, replacing that with something akin to turning off a warning signal that’s annoying. And this unraveled THEIR life. It’s also extremely rare that an abusive parents gets diagnosed, it’s almost always the child that’s suffered the trauma ending up in the mental health system with the diagnosis.

      You say that had your father been diagnosed with any of those things, he might have healed himself, but you keyed in the components yourself. HIMSELF. The system doesn’t really correlate statistically with healing “wholesale”, it’s more the people that move away from the system and find their own way or alternative methods that are healed. That’s the statistics. And you say it’s certain cases. And the people who are “certain” cases are picked up by the guild interests of psychiatry and the pharmaceutical companies paying for the commercial advertisements and thus preventing corporate media from reporting anything but “certain” cases, although they statistically are in the minority. Just because the majority of people are treated a certain way doesn’t correlate with that being healing, certainly not when the occurrence of such conditions hasn’t decline at all but spiked tremendously.

      It’s truly sad when someone is so hurt that they are desperate, and then are conned into investing into something that doesn’t really help, just because it seems to. But this is a known method of economics and psychology. When someone is desperate offer them an idea of what could help, and it might be the people making someone desperate that also are offering the help.

      Fund both sides of a war and when the country is destabilized regardless of who wins, and the banks can start making more demands given the resultant destabilization and the need for loans.

      The DSM judges behavior, behavior that can be quite annoying or disabling already, but then it offers treatments which in the end correlate with more problems statistically. Oh, and who gets the money when more and more people end up having the problem to be treated rather than there’s a decline in the problem? And the profits of the drug companies have spiked as much as the occurrences of the problem they say they are treating. That’s all clearly highlighted in the books this website is about. But people don’t want to see the result because they feel so much something has to be done leaving themselves open to being conned. It’s very sad.

      And Trump isn’t going to end up receiving the diagnosis you talk about as much as it it would more likely be someone who is so insecure and traumatized from sexual or other abuse, and so marginalized, and so in need of needed emotional support they aren’t getting that they indulge in what’s diagnosed as narcissistic PD, Bipolar and then Personality Disorder. That’s much more likely to be the victim of an abusive parent than an abusive parent.

      It’s not fair to speak of what could have happened, and then ignore what HAS happened.

    • I’m sorry if I sound insensitive.
      Of course you want your father to have reached the point where he could be inspired to heal and change his life.
      But this doesn’t mean that what you’re being offered as a means to change is what would work, you only have to look at the real results: the spike in mental illness that has reached epidemic portions rather than the stories and the certain cases advertised by the very people making so much money they prevent needed contradictory stories from appearing in corporate media.

    • “I grew up with a father who terrorized me and my family, who was a textbook case of Narcissistic PD, as well as Bipolar, and possibly Personality Disorder …. had he been diagnosed with any of the above, perhaps that could have inspired him to heal himself. But even reading the DSM descriptions gave me a HUGE relief recognizing that his pathological treatment of me and other family members was not normal.”

      Liza, I think your post here is very valuable. Its importance can probably be only understood fully by someone who was invested and close to someone with such personality illnesses. “Huge relief” is as an apt description of what I felt as I can provide. You and I certainly a kindred spirits in that. Well said.

      • Valuable in that it spells out some of Liza’s pain and confusion. Too bad you haven’t sorted out your own. Incidentally, your attitude towards the woman you were “close” to (apparently too close for her comfort) is VERY “Trump”-like. I bet you were relieved when you found someone to ascribe her issues to something other than you.

        • You have repeatedly displayed behavior in this thread that is both defensive and offensive in response to myself and others simply stating our opinions – opinion that are based on our experiences, of which you know nothing. Knowing nothing of them does not prevent you from lashing out, however. You are choosing to cast aspersions on others rather than looking into the validity of what they are saying and either agreeing or disagreeing in a reasonable fashion. Perhaps they threaten you – I don’t know you so I won’t speculate further.

          Good luck with your life.

  40. Here are a few of my thoughts. Trump is an excellent polarizer. Whether we are pro or anti Trump, most of us have a common desire to be prosperous, heard, counted, cared about and safe. But we have differing ideas on how to accomplish our desires, and what, I believe, is a manufactured mistrust of others who are different than we are. The mistrust creates fear, polarization and dreams of dominance.

    If we look within our own families and communities, relationships of all kinds are difficult when we are distracted by fear of loss and mistrust that the other holds our best interest at heart. Rather than focusing on the issues at hand we fight each other, self fulfilling our premise. We can argue to the ground over the color of a wall. Even knowing the win/win strategies, fear can override our best efforts and intentions. If we are not attuned to our threat response, the people we give power to can easily override our good sense and set us at each other.
    If we don’t understand and see we are accountable for our own behavior we are unable to keep our attention on the complexities of making our differences work for us rather than threaten us. And the current status will continue no matter who is chosen to “fix” what ails us. The problem is much bigger than who is in office.

    The “money changers”, perhaps out of a sense of disenfranchisement (which may, to many, be too kind), are feeding themselves at the expense of most of the globe. The more we fight them and and wake up, the more threatened and threatening they become. We see it everywhere these days…. over pipelines, during demonstrations, on the streets, in the prisons, etc.

    This is our big problem in my opinion. Without change in the way we handle our “threat responses” any change in leadership will keep the power in the hands of a few with special interests no matter what ideals are expressed while the rest of us face off. There are no easy answers to how do we come together, buy in, accept in, trust in, have healthy conflict, and find a way. Is it possible to be inclusive on a large scale? Maybe not to start there but to start with each other?

    • If this is relevant to anyone, my thoughts for now are that the loosely defined “left” and anyone else who wants to come along should keep up the pressure on Trump while simultaneously purging the reactionaries from the Democratic Party. Anyone from Bernie left would be an ok candidate for removing Trump without simply more of the same-old, which people will continue to despise and reject. This would have to be only the start, however. Keeping up the momentum is always the challenge.

      • I am totally tired of the grid lock that’s existed in Washington for at least eight years now. I sincerely believe that almost everyone in Congress at this time should be purged regardless of which party they belong to. All of them have been obstructionists at one time or another and it’s only getting worse rather than better. Sooner or later both parties will cause a major shutdown of the government that will have catastrophic effects for all of us. It makes me so angry that I call the office of one of my senators each and every day when I get home from work. It doesn’t do any good because he ignores all of his constituents.

        A purge is really not feasible but we need to find some way to make those damned people in Washington realize that they are supposedly working for us back home.

  41. I think I would like to add my comment. As far as anything about the just past “Obama” administration, I cannot comment as I was so toxically drugged, I have very little memory of it and something unusual to me, I don’t even remembering voting in the elections. I will say for someone who was a President, he seems essentially “laid-back.”
    As far as labeling the current man in office ( I refuse to state his name) it would probably be useless and disadvantageous to those of us who are true “psychiatric survivors” and really might not hurt our cause. In thinking of our particular cause, it is not incumbent on any political party and we will need to be able to “rise up” against both. In fact, we will need to “rise up” not only against the psychiatrists, Big Pharma, and their supporters, but, also against the entire health care industry. It is a monumental “fight” but extremely worth it and will likely continue past our “generations.” I do applaud the protests, etc. that have arisen since the inauguration. It seems as if many are “waking up.” This may in the end help our cause.
    Finally, I would like to make an important point as least to me. This current person in office and his sycophants speak obsessively about “fake news” and point to many major media outlets. (I will agree with those who consider this a “threat” to American democracy, free speech, and way of life and has some insidious possibilities.) But, the speaking of “fake news” and the other good one, “alternative facts” when you think of those of us who have been given false diagnoses or diagnoses that never existed and caused so much damaging horror in our lives that we are seriously trying to heal and have our lives restored and resurrected is really and truly beyond any words in the English language. It is that “horrific” and is a form of “verbal terrorism.”
    I will admit after last week’s press conference, I remarked to my mother. “Now, you know and can be sure that I was NEVER, EVER mentally ill at any time.” She actually did agree.
    Still, I think labeling him “mentally ill” would be disadvantageous and might be “harmful” to psychiatric survivors. I honestly think there are perhaps other issues that will take him down. It will be extremely interesting to see his reaction and his sycophants’ reaction when these issues do become more prominent and “threaten” his alleged “power” and “control.” One must remember he is up against a “democratic” institution of over 240 years and he is been in his alleged position just about a mere month.

  42. I, honestly, don’t know if trump should be diagnosed as “mentally ill” or not. I would first think it might be disadvantageous to our cause; yet, if American Democracy and the safety of America is at risk; all I can is I don’t know. I did hear on the television from one the psychologists that the basis of their petition was his behavior; as seen on the various speeches, etc. he has done. He said there were not using the old-fashioned way of the “psychiatric interview.” I did think this was interesting in that I, and perhaps many of you were totally “diagnosed” through “psychiatric interviews” and this included the prescribing of the “toxic drugs.”
    I do not agree with every political idea written here. I do not believe we are a “sick society”; we are being “punished by God” or that this is “Biblical Prophecy.” As for who voted for ‘trump” like “Hilary” there is no actual profile of the actual voter. Each voter is unique. However, I do think the Republican Party seems to be drifting towards the farther of the right positions. I am not sure how far left the Democratic party will counter. Also, if you notice the news, the town halls for the legislators during their break are full of protests and for some legislators; some are hiding from the voters.
    I do agree with Nomadic. I think if there is a group we should follow in our cause; it would be the Black Panthers. I know there was some negative press about their tactics; but, the main thing the gave the African American adults and children the all important concept of Black Pride. And that gave the courage to fight their way to the White House.
    Most of us have been hurt so much by the psychiatrists, their toxic drugs, their toxic buddies, and all the other accompanying toxic stuff, we seriously need our pride back. No matter what goes on this country or this world; we need to reclaim our selves, and fight for that right. Of all the rights granted to us by “whomever” (fill in the blank) the absolute right for each one of us to be who we are meant to be and no body else is the absolute most important. And, if anyone ever tries to take that away from me again; no matter who they are (or were) I fight; perhaps not with guns and swords; but with something better and more long-lasting; the sheer force of being me!