A recent article from The Huffington Post is making the rounds. A group of experienced mental health professionals is worried that President-elect Donald Trump has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and they are asking President Obama to investigate.
Regardless of your political leanings, this is a big deal. After all, it’s not at all unreasonable to expect sanity from our elected officials.
The article has two videos wherein they interview experts in the field of psychology and psychiatry. It is worth taking the time to listen to what they have to say about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
This gets talked about a lot with Trump, but not in a way that really explains what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is and why it is something about which we should all be concerned.
In terms of scale, Narcissism is to Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a puddle of water is to the Grand Canyon. NPD, one of 10 recognized personality disorders in the DSM5, is in the same diagnostic category as histrionic, borderline, and antisocial personality disorders.
That last one is essentially what sociopaths are.
The reason these 4 disorders are in the same category is due to the overlap of symptoms. Paranoia, intense fear, and emotional dysregulation is common. So is lack of empathy, pathological lying, and manipulative behavior.
So we’re talking about a future President who has a personality makeup that includes pathological lying. I should point out here that people like this have no control over this stuff. It’s not like he’s going to take the Oath of Office and suddenly grow a conscience.
This is who he is. He’s not going to change and he’ll probably get worse.
And the thing about Trump is that there is no denying that he has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is patently obvious.
Either Trump is pretending to be a narcissist, or he actually is a narcissist. There is no third option.
The reality is that you don’t need a formal evaluation to see that Trump has problems. That is certainly a best practice, but it’s not like something magical happens in a formal setting that doesn’t happen in other settings.
When clinicians perform clinical assessments, we have to make an official, medically binding diagnosis based on 60 minutes of face time and objective observation. The rest is training and experience.
60 minutes. That’s it.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is pretty easy to diagnose. Its more egregious forms are hard to ignore, especially with high-profile public figures like Donald Trump. We’ve had 40 years to observe him, which of course is way more than we’d ever get in a clinical setting. His behavior on the campaign trail alone has given us more than what we would normally need to make an informed decision about the state of his mental health.
If Trump does, indeed, have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it is a big problem. It’s not funny. It’s not a joke. It’s not political. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. It’s a live grenade with a faulty fuse.
There is a reason they are called “disorders.” By definition, this implies pervasive impairment of social interaction, impulse control, and cognition.
Do you really want someone like this in charge of the country?
On January 20, Donald Trump and his unchecked narcissism will have full command of the most powerful military in the history of the world.
He won’t change, and he won’t get better. He would no sooner be able to change his skin or eye color. It just won’t happen. So we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the man when he is sworn in.
The 25th Amendment may very well be put to the test pretty soon. We’ll just have to wait and see.