President Donald Trump “doesn’t fit the criteria” for a mental disorder, says a psychiatrist who helped write the manual for diagnosing such conditions.
Writing in health news publication STAT, Allen Frances said that questioning the President’s mental health has become a “popular pastime” among professionals, journalists and ordinary people. But he says such speculation is unfounded.
“The three most frequent armchair diagnoses made for Trump — narcissistic personality disorder, delusional disorder, and dementia — are all badly misinformed,” Frances writes.
Frances added that that he believes Trump “demonstrates in pure form” the requirements for narcissistic personality disorder, but so do many celebrities and public figures.
“To qualify . . . an individual’s selfish, un-empathetic preening must be accompanied by significant distress or impairment. Trump certainly causes severe distress and impairment in others, but his narcissism doesn’t seem to affect him that way.”
Frances also said that Trump does not suffer from dementia, suggesting that his trademark speech patterns are a speechmaking tactic. “He uses the same words over and over again because they successfully work up the crowd,” Frances said.
He also said that diagnosing Trump with a mental illness “unfairly stigmatizes those who are truly mentally ill, underestimates his considerable cunning, and misdirects our efforts at future harm reduction.”
“We decided to include narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-III 40 years ago purely for clinical reasons,” said Frances, referencing the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual of Mental Disorders. “We never imagined it would be used as ammunition in today’s political warfare.”