Does Donald Trump have NPD?

Donald Trump and his Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A recent article from The Huffington Post is making the rounds. It’s about President-Elect Trump and the possibility that his is mentally ill. Regardless of your political affiliation, this is a big deal. The article has two videos wherein they interview experts in the field of psychology and psychiatry. It is worth taking 25 minutes out of your life to really listen to what these experts – experts – have to say about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. 

This gets talked about a lot with Trump, but not in a way that really explains why NPD is a really big deal that could affect every last one of us.

In terms of scale, Narcissism is to Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a .22 bullet is to a 155mm HE artillery round. 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.  

Despite common misconception, many infamous people from history were Narcissists, not sociopaths, which is a clinically irrelevant term and has been for 50 years. Examples include Adolph Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Ted Bundy, Pol Pot, Muammar Gaddafi, Kim Jong Un, and Osama bin Laden. In fiction, think Hannibal Lecter, or Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho. These are dangerous people. And NPD is incurable. Let that sink in for a moment.

The reason these 4 disorders are in the same category is due to the overlap of symptomatology. Paranoia, intense fear and emotional dysregulation are quite common. So is lack of empathy, pathological lying, and manipulative behavior.

One of two things is true. Either Trump is PRETENDING to be someone stricken with NPD, or he actually has it.

But Randy, you say, you’ve never actually met the man. How could you be sure? The answer is, when I (and any other counselor) do clinical assessments, we have to make an official, medically binding diagnosis based off of 60 minutes of face time and objectiveobservation. The rest is training and experience. 60 minutes. That’s it. And NPD, by contrast to many other disorders, is pretty easy to diagnose, though people with NPD rarely seek treatment. With Trump, we’ve had 30 YEARS to observe him. And in the past 18 months, there’s been an overwhelming amount of data that he has provided. WAY more than we’d probably ever get in a clinical setting. WAY more than one needs to make an informed decision.

If Trump does, indeed, have NPD, it is a grave 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.

On January 20, he will have full command of the most powerful military in the history of the world.
He won’t change, because it is simply who he is. He would no sooner be able to change 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.

Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

I'm a dually-licensed in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counselor, specializing in Co-Occurring Disorders.
Randy Withers, MA, NCC, LPCA, LCAS

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