Both professional and amateur psychologists have long been speculating about President Donald Trump’s mental instability. Evidence of this is on display every day in the White House and in the media as the president’s latest lies and misbehavior are reported on insatiably.
And now there is new evidence that Trump’s mental illness may be contagious. According to a prominent psychologist, his manic episodes and the need for constant attention is making more and more Americans filled with anxiety and in need of their own professional mental health care.
Jennifer Panning, a psychologist from Evanston, Illinois, recently spoke with POLITICO, and shared her views on the mental health of the president and the entire country.
According to a Panning, Trump has a distinctive combination of “provocation, brinkmanship, and self-drama,” that has caused what she calls “Trump Anxiety Disorder.” She has achieved a new degree of fame for being the person who first identified and named that particular malady. She said this anxiety disorder is very widespread throughout the country (possibly the world) and it even affects people who don’t closely follow politics or the news.
Panning says that “Trump Anxiety Disorder” can be identified by noting such symptoms as “increased worry, obsessive thought patterns, muscle tension and obsessive preoccupation with the news.”
Another professional therapist, Cynthia Baum-Baicker, agrees with this diagnosis. She is treating a married couple whose sex life has been undermined by conflicting opinions about Trump. She said the president is an omnipresent figure who now looms darkly over everyone’s lives whether they want him to or not.
“Authority figures represent the parent, so President Trump now sits in the seat of parent for all Americans,” explained Baum-Baicker. “So my ‘father figure’ is now a bully. He is an authoritarian who doesn’t believe in studying and doing homework. Rather than giving reassurance he creates uncertainty.”
Trump’s negative effect on the mental health of America is not affecting just liberals either. “Trump Anxiety Disorder” affects everyone across the political spectrum and even conservatives are having major anxiety issues.
Washington D.C. psychotherapist Elisabeth Joy LaMotte had these insights into this new mental health phenomenon:
“Conservatives are hurting, too. I view this anxiety as collective in a very strong sense. They’re hurting in part because they feel they don’t have permission to share their real views, or they feel conflicted because they agree with things that the president is doing but they’re uncomfortable with his language and tactics…. And they feel alienated and isolated from friends and family who differ from their views, as if there’s not permission to view it in a different way in D.C.”
New York psychiatrist Michael Dulchin said Trump’s unpredictability is creating a great deal of stress and uncertainty that people don’t like. “Human beings hate two things,” Dulchin said. “One is to look to the future and think you don’t have enough energy to succeed and live up to your expectations. The other is to not be able to predict the environment.”
He then added when these two thing are added together you get one result: “Anxiety and depression.”
According to POLITICO:
“Empirical data bolsters the anecdotal reports from practitioners. The American Psychiatric Association in a May survey found that 39 percent of people said their anxiety level had risen over the previous year—and 56 percent were either “extremely anxious” or “somewhat anxious about “the impact of politics on daily life.” A 2017 study found two-thirds of Americans’ see the nation’s future as a “very or somewhat significant source of stress.”
So now the truth is out. Trump is driving almost everyone insane. His mental illness is indeed contagious. Our only hope to get back on an even keel is to retire him as quickly as possible from public life. We need to get him out of our White House and get a new president who will project calm and stability and unity and certainty. The nation’s health depends upon it.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.