Crazy Like A Fox: Mental Health Experts Try To Get Inside Trumps Mind
Although neither Johnson nor other experts STAT consulted said the apparent loss of linguistic fluency was unambiguous evidence of mental decline, most thought something was going on.
John Montgomery, a psychologist in New York City and adjunct professor at New York University, said its hard to say definitively without rigorous testing of Trumps speaking patterns, but I think its pretty safe to say that Trump has had significant cognitive decline over the years.
No one observing Trump from afar, though, can tell whether thats an indication of dementia, of normal cognitive decline that many people experience as they age, or whether its due to other factors such as stress and emotional upheaval, said Montgomery, who is not a Trump supporter.
Even a Trump supporter saw and heard striking differences between interviews from the 1980s and 1990s and those of 2017, however. I can see what people are responding to, said Dr. Robert Pyles, a psychiatrist in suburban Boston. He heard a difference in tone and pace. What I did not detect was any gaps in mentation or meaning. I dont see any clear evidence of neurological or cognitive dysfunction.
Language And Executive Dysfunction
Language is closely tied with cognition, and the presidents speech patterns are increasingly repetitive, fragmented, devoid of content, and restricted in vocabulary. Trumps overuse of superlatives like tremendous, fantastic, and incredible are not merely elements of personal style. These filler words reflect reduced verbal fluency. Full transcripts of the presidents interviews with outlets like the New York Times and Time reveal the extent of his disorganized thought patterns.
Breaking The Goldwater Rule
In speaking out they have in fact broken their industry’s own ethics – the decades-old Goldwater Rule prohibits psychiatrists from giving diagnosis about someone they have not personally evaluated.
It was instated after a magazine asked thousands of experts in 1964 whether Republican nominee Barry Goldwater was psychologically fit to be president. He successfully sued the magazine’s editor for libel after the results were published.
The APA warned during the campaign that breaking the rule in trying to analyse the candidates in the presidential election was “irresponsible, potentially stigmatising, and definitely unethical”.
Given the rule against diagnosing from afar, some argue that there should be a system in place for diagnosing Mr Trump up close.
“A president could be actively hallucinating,” writes the Atlantic, “threatening to launch a nuclear attack based on intelligence he had just obtained from David Bowie, and the medical community could be relegated to speculation from afar.”
In fact there is a law in the works for a committee to be required to assess the president’s health – the Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act.
And despite the amount of space given to the topic of the president’s mental health, many commentators recoil from it. Carlos Lozada writes in the Washington Post that this is reductive: “There is something too simple about dismissing his misdeeds as signs of mental illness it almost exonerates him, and us.”
Does Trump Have Dementia
The Establishment is now pushing the narrative that President Donald Trump is showing early signs of dementia and Alzheimers and is mentally unstable to serve as President.
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Dysfunction Of Social Cognition And Behavior
Some of the presidents most concerning behaviors suggest a decline in social cognition: reduced insight and awareness into the thoughts and motivations of other people, coupled with symptoms like impulsivity and disinhibition that make him behave rudely and create needless controversy.
The decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in the middle of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is an example of an impulsive decision that was greatly damaging to the president himself, assuming he was not actually trying to cover up his own complicity in the matter under investigation. Contradicting his own communications staff by disclosing that the Russia investigation was one reason he fired Comey is an example of disinhibited behavior. Rashly threatening Comey with a recording he did not have is reflective of poor emotional control.
Trumps easy Twitter trigger finger, most recently retweeting British far-right videos he apparently knew nothing about simply because the social media platform promoted these videos in his feed, reflects poor impulse control. Numerous problematic moments in the Trump presidency, such as his volunteering top secret Israeli intelligence to the Russian ambassador or volunteering that his immigration restrictions were indeed a travel ban, reflect an inability to contain himself.
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Trump’s Mental Health And Why People Are Discussing It
It is a question that has dogged Donald Trump – fairly or otherwise – since he was elected president: is he mentally fit for office?
The question has been raised again by the release of a new book by New York journalist Michael Wolff, which chronicles the first year of the Trump White House.
The book – the accuracy of which has been disputed by the White House and queried by others – paints the president as impatient and unable to focus, prone to rambling and repeating himself.
Mr Trump has hit back against Mr Wolff’s account, claiming on Twitter to be a “very stable genius” whose “two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart”.
But the president’s manner and speaking style have led to armchair diagnoses of a host of ailments, from Alzheimer’s to narcissistic personality disorder – a controversial practice that has divided the medical profession.
….Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star…..
Donald J. Trump
….to President of the United States . I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!
Donald J. Trump
Confusing People And Generations
Memory loss is the symptom most closely associated with Alzheimers. While Trump famously forgets the names of people and places , one could make allowances for such gaffes. More troubling, Michael Wolff reported in “Fire and Fury” that at the end of 2017, Trump failed to recognize “a succession of old friends” at Mar-a-Lago.
Trump, 72, seemed to hit a new inflection point last week when he said, My father is German. Right? Was German. And born in a very wonderful place in Germany. In fact, his father was born in the Bronx and it was his grandfather who was from Germany.
Dementia Care International says a “person may start to mix up relationships and generations in the second stage of dementia.
One day, when my Uncle Bruce was agitated, he cried out for me saying, Call John. Hes a rich lawyer. Hell know what to do even though it was my father who was the lawyer, not me. That was not in the early phase of the illness. That incident took place a few months before Uncle Bruce was forced to enter the nursing home.
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Reporters Notebook: I Never Thought Id Be Writing About Trumps Mind
The experts noted clear changes from Trumps unscripted answers 30 years ago to those in 2017, in some cases stark enough to raise questions about his brain health. They noted, however, that the same sort of linguistic decline can also reflect stress, frustration, anger, or just plain fatigue.
Ben Michaelis, a psychologist in New York City, performed cognitive assessments at the behest of the New York Supreme Court and criminal courts and taught the technique at a hospital and university. There are clearly some changes in Trump as a speaker since the 1980s, said Michaelis, who does not support Trump, including a clear reduction in linguistic sophistication over time, with simpler word choices and sentence structure. In fairness to Trump, hes 70, so some decline in his cognitive functioning over time would be expected.
Some sentences, or partial sentences, would, if written, make a second-grade teacher despair. Well do some questions, unless you have enough questions, Trump told a February press conference. And last week, he told NBCs Lester Holt, When I did this now I said, I probably, maybe will confuse people, maybe Ill expand that, you know, lengthen the time because it should be over with, in my opinion, should have been over with a long time ago.
Experts Challenge The Science Behind Ban On Psychiatrists Discussing Politicians Mental Health
The statement seems out of the blue, as the Goldwater rule has been around since 1973 without the rest of medicine ever joining in. The AMA has unfortunately chosen a time to issue its own prohibition precisely at a moment when physician insight into a public figure is needed more now than ever before.
I sought to better understand the source of this restriction, so I spoke with AMA media representative Robert Mills, who told me that the media ethics guidance derived from concern about Dr. Mehmet Oz. A medical student member, citing Ozs endorsement of fringe medical practices that seemed to be influencing Americans broadly, suggested that the association resolve to provide stricter media guidance to physicians that would help discourage them from portraying themselves as all-knowing media authorities.
Thats a noble idea, but capping dialogue about public figures seems rather peripheral and worthy of deeper consideration than given by the paragraph in the broader statement. Dr. Matthew Wynia, who was formerly Director of the AMA Institute for Ethics and now directs the University of Colorados Center for Bioethics and Humanities, told me that he considers the AMAs new position, emphasizing the importance of in-person examination, misplaced given the way medicine is practiced in 2017.
Which is warn the president that he needs to be evaluated for a brain disease.
Ford Vox, M.D., is a medical journalist and commentator who practices brain injury medicine in Atlanta.
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It Normalises Incorrect Language
As with any sensitive medical condition, the language we use around dementia is important. There’s a long history of mislabeling when it comes to mental health conditions, and casual diagnoses make matters worse.
Words like ‘bipolar’ and ‘OCD’, for instance, are often used outside of a medical context. This creates confusion that impacts people with a formal diagnosis.
This is why we must be extra careful when applying the term dementia. People with the condition need a professional diagnosis so they can access the support they need. A weakened understanding of dementia could put people off seeking medical help.
If someone does have a diagnosis of dementia, we need to still see the person. We should never use their dementia as a label that comes to define them.
This post was first published in April 2018. It was most recently updated in July 2021.
Donald Trump: Family Medical History
Family history Refer to the book by Trump’s psychologist niece, Mary L. Trump, for a solidargument that much of Trump’s behavior can be explained by the abnormal personalities and dynamics in his family1.Details of the Trump family’s medical history are compiled here SEE BELOW.
- Trump’s father died with Alzheimer disease at age 93. His mental status was in decline for at least seven years before then. Mary Trump describes him as “a high-functioning sociopath”1a.
- Tump’s mother died at age 88, having endured a lifetime of medical challenges, including major gynecological hemorrhage, early surgical menopause with consequent severe osteoporosis, and life threatening trauma during a physical assault. She also had marked insomnia.
- Trump’s older brother, Fred, died at age 42 from complications of alcohol abuse — the specific cause is not clear.
- Trump’s younger brother by two years, Robert, died in summer 2020 of undisclosed causes.
- Trump has children by at least three different women.
- Trump’s son Barron, born in 2006, contracted covid-19 in 2020. His tall stature is obvious.
Trump claimed in 2011 that his father died at age 94 and his mother at 902. In reality, his father was 93 and his mother was 88.
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Does Donald Trumphave Dementia
This is an extract from Lionel Shriver’s diary, available in the new issue of the magazine, which is out tomorrow.
Over dinner, my fellow Professional American Sarah Churchwell and I shared our dismay over what on earth to say about Trump in public. Days earlier, a punter had closed my festival event in Swindon with an ostensibly simple question: How do you explain Trump?
Sarah posited a theory gaining mainstream currency. Many of Trumps characteristics point toward dementia: forgetfulness volatility, irritability, impulsivity and paranoia anxiety about stairs and inclines poor concentration and degraded syntax: reliance on placeholders , small vocabulary, fragmented sentences.
I just listened to Trumps 1998 Oprah Winfrey interview. If still arrogant, Trump was lucid, coherent almost articulate. He didnt sound like an idiot. He could talk. He cant talk now. Dire news? Maybe not. Its tough to unseat a president. The US system doesnt provide for votes of no confidence. Impeachment entails charging Trump with a crime, and weve still no Russian smoking gun. But one long shot is the 25th Amendment, allowing a president unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office to be removed. Until such time, hold on to your hats.
Donald Trump Joe Biden And Dementia: Why Not To Diagnose From A Distance
In the run-up to the US election in 2020, some sources speculated that Donald Trump and Joe Biden may be living with dementia. Here’s why you should never judge somebody’s mental health from afar.
When dementia or Alzheimer’s disease makes it onto newspaper front pages, its a good idea to approach with caution.
Miracle cures or bogeyman causes of dementia are often reported, but the reality of dementia research is complex. In recent years weve also seen several stories questioning US President Joe Biden or Donald Trump’s mental fitness.
If youre Donald Trump, these stories might comfortably be filed under fake news. But regardless of how you feel about a public figure, mixing the medical with the political is a bad idea. In fact, nobody should have their mental health diagnosed from a distance. Heres why.
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Yes I Saw Part Of Some Interview He Did W/oprah In The Late 80s/early90s And The Difference Is
|very dramatic. Now he speaks by constantly repeating the same words and phrases over and over and over , which I remember happening with one of my relatives who declined over time. She began repeating phrases while trying to speak. She would also get that spaced out and confused look Trump gets when he isnt being directly guided by Melania or Ivanka or someone like Bannon. Later she began repeating words over and over. Now that I know the signs it is much easier to spot in other people as dementia is often misunderstood. Its all my humble opinion of course but I do think this is one of his problems. He also reads the statements like a toddler now , constantly stumbling over basic words and sentences, while he nervously moves his body back and forth in a rhythmical pattern . The difference seems to be very clear and even more scary considering everything.|
Trump Wasnt Always So Linguistically Challenged What Could Explain The Change
The problem becomes especially apparent in the transcript format, where his thinking is no longer camouflaged by visual accompaniments to communication like facial expressions and gesticulations. Some outlets have sought to protect the president, forgiving his lapses by declining to publish full transcripts. When Politico published a leaked transcript of the Wall Street Journals July interview, we learned that the presidents intellectual curiosity rises to the level of introductory geography: You call places like Malaysia, Indonesia, and you say, you know, how many people do you have? And its pretty amazing how many people they have.
The president made that remark in response to a question about the ideal corporate tax rate, demonstrating the degree to which his thinking drifts. The problems with language expression extend to language interpretation, the likely source of the presidents gross misunderstanding of London Mayor Sadiq Khans message to his city in the wake of a terror attack in June.
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Statement On National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month 2017
President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month in 1983. Eleven years later, President Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, which eventually claimed his life. While President Reagan’s experience raised our collective awareness about this cruel disease, Americans today are, sadly, no less vulnerable to its ravages. The slow, steady decline of those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias continues to affect Americans from all walks of life.
Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5.3 million Americans age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease, and nearly 14 million Americans may suffer from it by 2050. Thousands live with early-onset Alzheimer’s and other related types of dementia. For these Americans struggling with the disease as it gradually erodes their ability to think, learn, and remember, we must all do our best to alleviate suffering, open our hearts, and provide loving care. Additionally, our institutions must pursue research and other opportunities to help eradicate the disease in the future. We can and must do better.
Donald J. Trump, Statement on National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, 2017 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/331546