Duke Psychiatrist: America is Having a Nervous Breakdown


In this interview for AlterNet, Allen Frances describes the various political, social, and psychological factors that led the U.S. to elect President Trump and create the national crisis we are experiencing today. Frances also discusses the importance of focusing on containing Trump and standing up to his administration, rather than diagnosing him.

“…I think our country is in distress. The cover of my book has an upside down American flag, a universal signal of lethal distress. Our country is in distress. My hope is that this will end the pattern of delusional denial that for these last 30 or 40 years has led us away from our responsibilities to the future, away from our responsibilities to the rest of the world.

The book also focuses on why we make bad decisions. We have wired into our brains the capacity to make the dumbest decisions. We’re very smart creatures. We can make remarkably dumb decisions and display remarkably selfish behaviors. If we can extend the altruism that’s in-built in the human constitution but usually focuses only on the family and the tribe, if we can realize that the world is now one tribe with the human species at risk and we do not gain by following ‘America first’ policies that makes some other culture lose. It’s a game where if they lose we will ultimately lose as well.”


  1. Allen Frances says, Trump isn’t crazy, he’s just plain bad. It’s America that’s crazy.

    Says he wants to get more politically engaged in some kind of demonstrative (as in demonstration) way..

    Who do I distrust more, Allen Frances or Donald Trump? I imagine I could decide that one with the flip of a coin.

    All the same, I’d refrain from locking up America for the moment.

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    • Actually, Donald Trump being head of state of one of the most powerful countries in the world is not a distraction “from looking at the real causes of what’s going on in the world.” He, after all, is one of those “causes”. Notice or not, there’s a lot of “gibberish” coming up on Twitter as well. Scary “gibberish”.

      I was reading where one of these psychiatrists wants to subject all political candidates to mental health screenings. I’m going whoa. Can you imagine? It isn’t enough to screen school children and young adults for “mental illnesses”. Screen politicians, and you know where that’s going. Next it’s other job interviews. Police officers in training, teachers, service station attendants, you name it. I figure there is a point where this “duty to warn” thing could seriously imperil our civil liberties, if it hasn’t done so already. Prejudice is okay, I suppose, so long as it’s prejudice directed against people who have experienced the mental health system…No, it’s not Okay. Not Okay at all. Even ex-patients, if they’re to survive as ex-patients, need an income.

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        • Correction. I don’t support Trump.

          America elects a rich boss who is working in the interests of his rich cronies, and against all the poor and working people who have to shovel a way out of his manure.

          As far as I’m concerned, “He’s fired”. I never hired him in the first place.


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          • America elects a rich boss who is working in the interests of his rich cronies, and against all the poor and working people who have to shovel a way out of his manure.

            True, but this applies to every president in history, not just Trump. Trump is more of the same, but without the statesmanlike facade.

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