Yesterday, a group of 34 leading psychologists signed a letter to the editor of The New York Times, expressing their concern over President Trump's mental state. They were motivated to write the letter, which violated an American Psychiatric Association ethics rule against diagnosing public figures, because they felt that the danger his narcissism posed to the US and the world was too great.

Now, they're being given a taste of their own medicine with a dissenting letter written by Dr. Allen Frances, a psychiatry professor who chaired the task force that wrote the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (so he would know.) But although he disagreed with his colleagues' diagnosis, that doesn't mean he was kind to Trump. Quite the opposite.


Dr. Frances explains:

Most amateur diagnosticians have mislabeled President Trump with the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. I wrote the criteria that define this disorder, and Mr. Trump doesn’t meet them. He may be a world-class narcissist, but this doesn’t make him mentally ill, because he does not suffer from the distress and impairment required to diagnose mental disorder.


Mincing no words, he goes on to say:

It is a stigmatizing insult to the mentally ill (who are mostly well behaved and well meaning) to be lumped with Mr. Trump (who is neither). Bad behavior is rarely a sign of mental illness, and the mentally ill behave badly only rarely. Psychiatric name-calling is a misguided way of countering Mr. Trump’s attack on democracy. He can, and should, be appropriately denounced for his ignorance, incompetence, impulsivity and pursuit of dictatorial powers.

Head over to The New York Times for the full letter.