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Since the start of Trump’s presidential run, one question has permeated the observations of concerned citizens: What is wrong with him? Constrained by the APA’s “Goldwater rule,” which inhibits mental health professionals from diagnosing public figures they have not personally examined, many of those qualified to answer this question have shied away from discussing the issue at all.
In The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, mental health experts argue that, in Trump’s case, their moral and civic “duty to warn” America supersedes professional neutrality. Philip Zimbardo and Rosemary Sword, for instance, explain Trump’s impulsivity in terms of “unbridled and extreme present hedonism.” Craig Malkin writes on pathological narcissism. Gail Sheehy, on a lack of trust that exceeds paranoia. Lance Dodes, on sociopathy. Robert Jay Lifton, on the “malignant normality” that can set in everyday life if psychiatrists do not speak up.
His madness is catching, too. From the trauma people have experienced under the Trump administration to the cult-like characteristics of his followers, he has created unprecedented mental health consequences across our nation and beyond. It’s not all in our heads. It’s in his.
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