A group of 33 psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers earlier this week signed a letter published by the New York Times indicating that President Donald Trump is emotionally unstable and mentally incapable of leading as president. Following this development, over 23,000 people have signed a petition asking that President Trump be removed based on some personality disorder. However, a leading psychiatrist, Dr. Allen Frances, disagrees that Mr. Trump is mentally ill, stating that he's rather unpleasant.
This debate on the mental and emotional stability of the US president came to a head when his policies and personal character have been called into question by many people who consider him as too power-hungry and lacking empathy. This caused several psychiatrists to break a self-imposed rule known as the Goldwater Rule to comment on the mental health of the president, a development that is generating ripples across the land. However, the medical expert that wrote the criteria for personality disorder notes that President Trump could not be defined as mentally ill in any given way.
Psychiatrists broke the Goldwater Rule to comment on Trump's mental health
The Goldwater Rule was put forward in 1973 by the American Psychiatrist Association stating that practicing psychiatrists must not comment on the mental health of any public figures they have not personally examined or diagnosed. The rule was informed by the statements of several psychiatrists who spoke out against the mental suitability of presidential candidate Barry Goldwater to be rule in 1964. APA had warned in 2016 that it would be wrong for any psychiatrist to analyze the mental health of the US presidential candidates in the race.
However, this rule does not go down well with several psychiatrists who insist they would be wronging the general public if they keep silent in the face of Mr. Trump's general behaviors, the BBC reports. According to the mental health experts who signed the letter, "This silence has resulted in a failure to lend our expertise to worried journalists and members of Congress at this critical time. We fear that too much is at stake to be silent any longer." They suggested in their letter that the president is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Former chair of DSM disagrees that President Trump has NPD
Dr. Allen Frances is a professor emeritus of psychiatry at Duke University Medical College and the author of a book on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He was also the chairman of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder IV (DSM 4), the group that defined what constitutes mental and psychiatric disorders for health practitioners. And he noted he actually wrote the conditions or criteria that defined NPD, NBC News wrote.
Dr. Frances insists President Trump may be narcissistic, but he does not suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and not mentally ill in any given way. He said Trump does not suffer impairments and distress that would qualify him as having the disorder. And then he finished off by saying "Mr. Trump causes severe distress rather than experiencing it and has been richly rewarded, rather than punished, for his grandiosity, self-absorption and lack of empathy."