34 Psychiatric Professionals Penned a Letter Deeming Trump 'Incapable of Safely Serving as President'

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  President-elect Donald Trump speaks at a news cenference at Trump Tower  on January 11, 2017 in New York City. This is Trump's first official news conference since the November elections.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

34 Psychiatric Professionals Penned a Letter Deeming Trump 'Incapable of Safely Serving as President'

And the story behind another leading doctor who says calling him mentally ill is an insult to the mentally ill.

Published February 17, 2017

Since taking office in January, Donald Trump and the state of his mental health has been under public scrutiny. Many have felt that his behavior is demonstrative of a mental illness, specifically narcissism disorder. 

Although medical professionals are not supposed to diagnose someone from a distance, 34 leaders of the field signed a letter to the New York Times that expressed severe concerns for the president's mental health. 

  1. The letter went as far as to suggest that Donald Trump's behavior proves that he is incapable of safely governing the nation

    "Mr. Trump’s speech and actions demonstrate an inability to tolerate views different from his own, leading to rage reactions. His words and behavior suggest a profound inability to empathize. Individuals with these traits distort reality to suit their psychological state, attacking facts and those who convey them (journalists, scientists).

    "In a powerful leader, these attacks are likely to increase, as his personal myth of greatness appears to be confirmed. We believe that the grave emotional instability indicated by Mr. Trump’s speech and actions makes him incapable of serving safely as president." 

    The letter referred to a statement made by Charles Blow wherein he questions Donald Trump's mental health. Dr. Lance Dodes then wrote a letter to the Times editor that expressed an agreement of Blow's sentiment. 

  2. However, the doctor who defined the characteristics for narcissism penned his own letter refuting the claims of the 34 professionals

    "Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder."

    Dr. Allen Frances, a psychiatry professor, helped write the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV . Based on his knowledge and experience, he found the diagnoses made by the 34 professionals to be inappropriate and insulting to people suffering from mental illness.

    Frances penned his own letter to the editor opposing their claims.  

  3. Frances does call Trump 'incompetent,' yet he is unwilling to call him mentally ill

    "Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

    "His psychological motivations are too obvious to be interesting, and analyzing them will not halt his headlong power grab. The antidote to a dystopic Trumpean dark age is political, not psychological."

Written by Rachel Herron

(Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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