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.
About the Author
Bandy X. Lee, M.D., M.Div., is Assistant Clinical Professor in Law and Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. She earned her degrees at Yale, interned at Bellevue, was Chief Resident at Mass General, and was a Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School. She was also a Fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health. She's written more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and chapters, edited nine academic books, and is author of the textbook Violence.
"This is an historic work in the history of American psychiatry. We have never been in this place before." --Lawrence O'Donnell
"There will not be a book published this fall more urgent, important, or controversial than The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump...profound, illuminating and discomforting" --Bill Moyers
"The stand these psychiatrists are taking takes courage, and their conclusions are compelling." --The Washington Post
"When I first heard about the conference that gave rise to this book at Yale, I was worried that a manifesto would come out with a diagnosis.... That is not what happened: what happened is a very thoughtful assessment based on lots of public data, which gives us a very clear way of thinking about the terrific vulnerabilities of our current president that elicits a duty to warn." - Samuel Barondes, Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco
"This insightful collection ... is a valuable primary source documenting the critical turning point when American psychiatry reassessed the ethics of restraining commentary on the mental health of public officials in light of the 'duty to warn' of imminent danger." - Estelle Freedman, the Robinson Professor in U.S. History at Stanford University