Posts Tagged ‘Bandy Lee’

A President Divorced from Reality

January 9, 2019

And who has a sick, unhealthy memory. Trump’s mental issues were discussed in the post “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M. Div. It is obvious that Trump is a narcissist. And it also has become obvious that Trump has a delusional disorder. There was a previous post on this topic appropriately titled “Delusional Disorder.”

People with this disorder have lost contact with reality and live in their own world of delusions. Moreover, it appears that this disorder is chronic. And no psychiatric or psychological training is needed to come to the conclusion that his disorder is chronic.

One key indicator is that his lying is ubiquitous, and this is well documented. Moreover, his lies frequently contradict each other. Whatever he believes at the moment, which is also what is convenient at the moment, is what he says.

Hayden, formerly the head of the NSA and CIA, has noted that Trump has no interest in objective truth. Truth for Trump resides in his delusional mind. He refuses to accept the briefings he gets from the intelligence community. It is well documented that Russia did work to get him elected. Yet Putin tells hims that this is false news. Trump says that he believes Putin because Putin told him very strongly that they did not. Trump has recently presented Putin’s own revision of history to fit the new Russian agenda. According to this, Russia invaded Afghanistan to stop terrorism. This is brand new, recently formulated Russian propaganda.

Trump says that he is the greatest (fill in the blank) everything he can think of. He knows more than his generals, more than (fill in the blank). He is not just bragging, he appears to believe what he is saying. He also says he thinks with his gut. One can easily believe this is as it seems that his brain plays a minimal role in his thinking, if any.

Perhaps, the most telling instance was Trump’s presentation before the United Nations. He began by telling the assembly of his successes as President, and the assembly broke out in laughter. He was surprised, because he regards himself as a success.

What is worrying is that although Trump is regarded as a norm breaking President, it is not recognized that he is mentally ill. Actually, impeachment is not appropriate for Trump. Rather the 25th Amendment provides the ability for the removal of the President when he is not longer fit to govern. Being divorced from reality and living in his own world of delusions provide the basis for removal. Here is Section 4 of the Amendment:
“Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President. “

So Republicans are needed to do this. Unfortunately, most true Republicans have left the party, and the remainder remain for the power of their positions and the ability their positions allow them to enrich themselves.

But for the good of the country, and to try to rehabilitate that Grand Old Party and make it grand again, they should invoke the amendment.

© Douglas Griffith and, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Additional Worries About Trump

January 7, 2018

This post is taken largely from the article by Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword titled “Unbridled and Extreme Present Hedonism” in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M. Div.

Trump’s unbridled and extreme present hedonism should already be obvious to all. And the analyses by Zimbardo and Sword have many similarities with the other mental health experts. This post will hit some of the additional points made in this chapter. Zimbardo and Sword write, “ In presenting our case that Donald Trump is mentally unfit to be president of the United States, we would be remiss if we did not consider one more factor: the possibility of a neurological disorder such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.” Donald Trump’s father, Fred, suffered from dementia believed to be Alzheimer’s disease (a definitive diagnosis requires an autopsy for Alzheimer’s). They compared videos of Trump and others from the 1980s, 1990’s, and early 2000s to current videos. They found (a significant reduction in the use of essential words; an increase in the use of adjectives such as very, huge, and tremendous; and incomplete run-on sentences that don’t make sense and that could indicate a loss of train of thought or memory) are conspicuously apparent. This observation is not unique to Zimbardo and Sword.

HM has heard this from different individuals who have a longstanding knowledge of Trump. Joe Scarborough is one of these individuals. Moreover, Scarborough thinks that Trump has gotten dramatically worse since he was inaugurated. Scarborough said, “During the campaign, he would do things that were offensive to us [that energized his base], but that’s not like hitting your hand with a hammer. What he’s doing now is not in his self-interest. Then you start saying how well is he (Scarborough points to his own head] when he’s doing things that any sane rational person would know would hurt him politically?

For a long time, perhaps too long, psychiatrists employed the Goldwater rule to justify why they were avoiding commentary on Trump. The Goldwater rule has precluded psychiatrists from commenting on individuals whom they had not personally analyzed. This was done because of comments some psychiatrists had made about Barry Goldwater during his run for president. As he was a reserve general officer in the Air Force and had made such statement as “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” some psychiatrists were concerned.

What is not as well know is the Tarasoff doctrine. This was formulated with the principles of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California 17 Cal. 3d 425 (1976). According to this doctrine “it is the responsibility of mental health professionals to warn the citizens of the United States and the people of the world of the potentially devastating effects of such an extreme present-hedonistic world leader, one with enormous power at his disposal. On the whole, the mental health professionals have failed in their duty to warn, in a timely manner, not only the public but also governmental officials about the dangers of President Donald Trump. Articles and interviews intent on cautioning the masses prior to the election fell on deaf ears, perhaps in part because the media did not afford the concerned mental health professionals appropriate coverage, perhaps because some citizens discount the value of mental health and have thrown a thick blanket of stigma over the profession, or perhaps we as mental health professionals did not stand united. Whatever the reason, it’s not too late to follow through.”

During the election, many thought, or hoped, that Trump was crazy like a fox, that he was a genius who knew how to manipulate crowds, but once in office, he would morph into a competent president. Well, that has not happened, and the prognosis is that matters will get even worse.

Delusional Disorder

January 6, 2018

This post is largely based on a chapter by Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D. titled “Why ‘Crazy Lie a Fox’ versus ‘Crazy like a Crazy’ Really Matters.” That chapter is in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M. Div.

Delusional Disorder is a “stealth” disorder because such individuals can seem perfectly normal, logical, high functioning, and even charming so long as the delusion itself is not challenged. Delusional disorder is described as “one of the less common psychotic disorders in which patients have delusions that differ from the classical symptoms of schizophrenia. Psychosis is defined as “a condition in which there is profound loss of contact with external reality.” Although in schizophrenia the disconnection tends to be highly visible and all-encompassing, the delusional disorder is neither bizarre or readily apparent to the outside observer:

*Delusions are beliefs that exist despite indisputable, factual evidence to the contrary.
*Delusions are held with absolute certainty, despite their falsity and impossibility.
*Delusions can have a variety of themes, including grandeur and persecution.
*Delusions are not of the bizarre variety but, rather, seem like ordinary figures of speech except that each world is meant literally:e.g., “I alone am the chosen one invincible, extraordinary beyond words, the very best of the best in every way.”
*Delusional people tend to be extremely thin-skinned and humorless, especially regarding their own delusions.
*Delusions are central to the person’s existence, and questioning them elicits a jolting and visceral reaction.
*Delusional disorder is chronic, even lifelong, and tends to worsen in adulthood, middle age, and beyond.
*Words and actions are consistent and logical if the basic premise of the delusion is accepted as reality.: “Because I am superior to all, it follows that I would never apologize because I am never wrong.”
*General logical reasoning and behavior are unaffected unless they are very specifically related to the delusion.
*The person has a heightened sense of self-reference (“It’s always all about me”), and trivial events assume outsize importance when they contradict (“Your are a con man, and not a great businessman”) or, conversely support the delusional belief “These adoring crowds recognize that I am extraordinary beyond measure.”), making trivial events, whether positive or negative, hard to let go of and move past (“Have I mentioned my greatest electoral landslide?”).

Dr. Tansey uses delusional disorder to make sense of Trump’s CIA address (CNN videos, 2017), which contain three staggering statements that lead us to think “He can’t possibly mean that. In the tenth minute he declared he was “a thousand % behind” the CIA. Moreover, he blamed the “fake media” for fostering the belief that he had been critical of the CIA. His own statements document that he was extremely critical of the CIA.

Later in the speech he described his disappointment that, as he began his inaugural address, it was raining, but then he claimed, with a finger to the sky, “God looked down and said, “We’re not going to let it rain on your speech.” He then insisted that the rain stopped immediately and it became “really sunny” before it poured right after he left.” The video taken of Inauguration Day clearly shows that the drizzle started as Trump began to speak, and that it never got sunny. It never subsequently poured. Dr. Tansey asks whether Trump believed every word he was saying? If the answer is yes, this would be compelling evidence of underlying delusional disorder leaking through the veneer of normality.

The third statement was his insistence that the inaugural ground were packed “all the way to Washington Monument.” Despite his consistent badgering of the Park Service, aerial shots clearly showed that the audience was thousands fewer than Obama’s in 2009, and did not come even close to the Washington Monument.

Note the role the polygraph plays here. If it fails to detect lies, when Trump is clearly lying, this is physiological evidence of delusional disorder.

Perhaps what is most frightening about Trump, is the admiration he has repeatedly and openly expressed admiration for Kim Jong-un, Bashar al-Assad, Saddam Hussein, and especially Vladimir Putin. Dr. Tansey concludes there is considerable evidence to suggest that absolute tyranny is Donald Trump’s ultimate desire.


January 5, 2018

The title of this post is the same as the title of a chapter by Lance Dodge, M.D. in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M. Div.

The chapter begins, “‘Crazy like a fox or just crazy?’ This question has surrounded Donald Trump since his campaign for president. The question is whether a person who is repetitively immoral—who cons others, lies, cheats and manipulates to get what he wants, doesn’t care whom he hurts as long as he is gratifying himself—whether such a person’s indifference to the feelings of others for personal gain is just being clever: crazy like a fox. Or are these actions a sign of something much more serious? Could they be expressions of significant mental derangement?”

Dr. Dodge’s answer is an emphatic “Yes.” He goes on to explain the psychological condition called sociopath and why it is such a severe disturbance. The word “sociopathy” is sometimes used interchangeably with “psychopathy,” though some have defined the words a bit differently. Sociopathy is also a major aspect of the term, “malignant narcissism” which is brought synonymous with the official (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or DSM) psychiatric diagnostic term, “antisocial personality disorder.” All refer to a disturbance in an individual’s entire emotional makeup (hence the term “personality” disorder in the DSM).

Children must develop ways to manage emotional distress: anxiety, confusion, disappointment, loss, fear, all while they are growing in their capacity to think, and sorting out what is real and what is their imagination. Most of us develop systems to do this, to tolerate and control our emotions, understand and empathize with the people around us, and tell the difference between reality and wishes or fears. But this does not happen to people with early, primitive emotional problems seen in sociopathy. They do not tolerate disappointments; instead, they fly into rages and claim that their upsetting reality isn’t real. They make up an alternative reality and insist that it is true. This is a delusion. When it is told to others, it is basically a lie. Successful sociopaths might not look very “crazy.” This capacity to lose touch with reality shows up when they are stressed by criticism or disappointment. When they are less stressed,they explain their loss of reality with rationalizations or more lies.

Here are some signs and symptoms of sociopathy:

Lack of Empathy for Others; Lack of Remorse; Lying and Cheating
Trump’s mocking of the disability of a handicapped reporter, sexually assaulting women, a history of cheating people he’s hired by not paying them what he owes, creating the now forced-to-disband Trump University. Readers should be able to provide more examples.

Loss of Reality
Trump’s alternative facts. His claim that President Obama is not an American and that he wiretapped Trump’s building. That his loss in the vote total in the general election was caused by illegal aliens. That he had the largest inauguration crown in history. Readers are encouraged to provide their own examples.

Rage Reaction and Impulsivity
The firing of the FBI Director James Comey after hearing his testimony before Congress. Launched more than 50 missiles within 72 hours of seeing a disturbing news. Issued illegal executive orders. Again, feel free to list your own examples.

Dr. Dodge concludes, “Mr. Trump’s sociopathic characteristics are undeniable. They create a profound danger for America’s democracy and safety. Over time these characteristics will only become worse, either because Mr. Trump will succeed in gaining more power and more grandiosity with less grasp on reality, or because he will engender more criticism producing more paranoia, more lies, and more enraged destruction.

Pathological Narcissism and Politics

January 4, 2018

The title of this post is identical to the title of a chapter in “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President” edited by Bandy Lee, M.D., M. Div.

The subtitle to this chapter is A Lethal Mix. The author is Craig Malkin, Ph.D. He writes, Pathological narcissism begins when people become so addicted to feeling special that, just like with any drug, they’ll do anything to get their “high,” including lie, steal cheat, betray and even hurt those closest to them.”

Dr. Malkin says that at the heart of pathological narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is that he calls Triple E:

*Entitlement, acting as if the world and other people owe them and should bend to their will.
*Exploitation, using the people around them to make themselves feel special, no matter what the emotional or even physical cost to others (battering away at their self-esteem)
*Empathy-impairment, neglecting and ignoring the needs and feelings of others, even of those closest to them because it is their own need to feel special that matters.

Exploitation and entitlement are linked to almost every troubling behavior pathological narcissists demonstrate: aggression when their ego is threatened, infidelity, vindictiveness, extreme envy, boasting, name-dropping, denial of any problems of wrongdoing—even workplace sabotage..

Dr. Malkin notes that as people become more addicted to feeling special, they grow ever more dangerous. Here pathological narcissism often blends with psychopathy, a pattern of remorseless lies and manipulation.

Unlike NPD, psychopathy is marked not by impaired or blocked empathy but a complete absence of it. Moreover, some neuroimaging evidence suggests that psychopaths do not experience emotions the same was non-psychopaths do. The emotions centers of their brains simply fail to light up when they confess shameful events such as cheating on a spouse or punching a friend. Nor do the emotion centers of the bran respond when they see pictures of people in pain or suffering anguish.

NPD and psychopathy together form a pattern of behavior called malignant narcissism. This is not a diagnosis but a term coined by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm and elaborated on by personality disorder expert, Otto Klineberg, to describe people so driven by feeling special that they essentially see other people as pawns in their game of kill or be killed, either metaphorically or literally. Kim Jong-un, Hitler, and Vladimir Putin all fall into the category of malignant narcissist.


January 2, 2018

The title of this post is identical to the title of an important book. The subtitle of this book is “27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President”. The editor of the book is Bandy Lee, M.D., M.Div. She was the organizer of the Yale “Duty to Warn” Conference. This conference was organized as a result of the worries, concerns, and yes, even fears, that mental health professionals have about Donald Trump serving as President of the United States. The following excerpts are from the Prologue of the book:
“Assessing dangerousness is different from making a diagnosis: it is dependent on the situation, not the person. Signs of likely dangerousness due to mental disorder can become apparent without a full diagnostic interview and can be detected from a distance and one is expected to err, if at all, on the side of safety when the risk of interaction is too great.”

“Only in an emergency should a physician breach the trust of confidentiality and intervene without consent, and only in an emergency should a physician break Goldwater rule. We believe that such an emergency now exists.”

The Goldwater rule was passed by the American Psychiatric Association during the election between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon B. Johnson, it said that psychiatrists should not comment on an individual unless they had personally examined the individual.

A sampling of some the chapters from the book are being summarized so the general warning from the book can be understood.

Perhaps the most comprehensive chapter was not written by a medical professional, but by a lawyer James A. Herb, Esq. the title of his chapter is “DONALD J. TRUMP, ALLEGED INCAPACITATED PERSON.” He writes, “Donald J. Trump became an ‘alleged incapacitated person’ on October 4, 2016 when I filed a petition to determine his mental incapacity in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. I claim legal standing to commence such a proceeding as an adult and a resident of Florida, and based on the fact that Trump’s apparent lack of mental capacity to function could impact me and possibly the whole world, in addition to him.”

Not surprisingly the day before the election the court dismissed his incapacity proceeding. After Election Day (and before the date for the Electoral College to meet and vote, he asked the court to reconsider its decision, arguing that the issue of whether Trump was mentally incapacitated was not moot, given the the president is selected by members of the Electoral College.) So perhaps the Electoral College could save us. He provides an explanation that the Electoral College was created to preclude an unqualified candidate such as Trump from becoming President. Obviously the court did not change its holding.

He still held out hope that the Twenty-fifth Amendment would save us. He filed a second petition on 30 January 2017 after Trump’s first ten days in office. In these first ten days Trump had espoused at least two delusional beliefs. One was the size of the crowd at his inauguration. The other was that Secretary Clinton had won the popular vote only because between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes had been cast.

Read for yourself in the next healthy memory blog post his justification for his filings to see if he did have a compelling and comprehensive justification for Trump not being President.

The next post is titled “Pathological Narcissism and Politics” by Craig Maikin, Ph.D. Pathological narcissism is the most common diagnosis given Trump.

Then the next post is titled “Sociopathy by Lance Dodge, M.D.

The following post is titled “Delusional Disorder by Michael J. Tansey, Ph.D . For what it’s worth, and noting that HM is not a clinician, HM agrees with this diagnosis. People suffering from a delusional disorder actually believe their lies. A test for this disorder involves using a polygraph while the person is lying. People with a delusional disorder will not register a lie on the polygraph.

The post titled “Additional Worries About Trump” is taken largely from an article by Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword titled “Unbridled and Extreme Present Hedonism.”
One of the additional worries is that Trump’s mental status is on a noticeable decline. There is no justification for thinking he will improve. The likelihood is that his condition will degenerate.

Do not be concerned about differences in diagnoses. The exact diagnosis is not important. Moreover, mental illness does not necessarily incapacitate a president. Previous presidents have suffered mental problems. The issue is whether the president presents a risk to the nation. Here there is only strong agreement among the authors.

The final post is titled “A Proposed Solution.” This solution calls for a panel. The panel would consists of three neuropsychiatrists (one clinical, one academic, and one military), one clinical psychologist, one neurologist and two interns.  Both the current President and Vice-President would be examined. These examinations would be continued to be done on an annual basis. Should the panel find that the examinee was putting the country at risk, he should be removed under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment.