Diagnostic Conclusions

All of us draw conclusions based upon our prior experiences. In fact, this is essential in order to bring some predictability to our lives. We say that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck it is a duck. Seems logical.

The ethics involved in the field of psychiatry precludes psychiatrists from diagnosing any particular individual without having completed a direct thorough evaluation.

By and large I agree that this is a fine policy, although I have read, for example, many statements about Lincoln’s clinical depression rendered by individuals who never had any sort of personal contact with him. Even psychiatry, a profession in which I have been a member for many years, is capable of making extremely stupid and even dangerous conclusions.

I believe that most of these have been based, at least in the most egregious examples, by accepting societal norms rather than by attempting to accumulate bias free scientific data.

If you think that this is wrong, explore the history of the euthanasia movement and its acceptance in the psychiatric field. Think also of the children with Downs Syndrome. Do we forget that children with this syndrome were once clinically diagnosed as “Mongolian Idiots?”  Parents who were presented with an infant with this diagnosis at birth were most frequently advised to immediately institutionalize them, usually in grossly inadequate circumstances with almost no stimulation. This treatment precluded intellectual development. In fact, we now know that many of these children are capable of being employed and living satisfactory lives in society.  The two examples, euthanasia and Downs Syndrome, are good reasons to be cautious in diagnosis.

I apologize for the digression but now we get to the meat of the subject.  There have been a number of recent conversations in which the diagnosis “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” has been bandied about, particularly in relation to a specific individual.  All psychiatric disorders are named, along with the diagnostic criteria, in the so-called DSM (i.e. the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association).

If one simply Googles the DSM Criteria For Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a series of statements will appear. This list provides the entire criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder; there are no laboratory, genetic or other tests for this disorder.  In making any diagnosis a psychiatrist will gather as much information from available sources, interview the patient a variable number of times, and may request psychological testing. All of these are then compared with the DSM statements and a judgment tendered as to whether the diagnosis is correct or whether some other resolution is appropriate.  I urge you to Google the list.

My personal ethics preclude my coming to a diagnostic conclusion regarding a person I have not personally evaluated. However, I do believe, in my heart of hearts, without doubt, that there is a person who is extremely well known and appears to fit this diagnosis in exquisite detail. My ethics preclude naming a name.

More articles by:
March 21, 2018
Paul Street
Time is Running Out: Who Will Protect Our Wrecked Democracy from the American Oligarchy?
Mel Goodman
The Great Myth of the So-Called “Adults in the Room”
Chris Floyd
Stumbling Blocks: Tim Kaine and the Bipartisan Abettors of Atrocity
Eric Draitser
The Political Repression of the Radical Left in Crimea
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Threatens Wider War Against the Kurds
John Steppling
It is Us
Thomas Knapp
Death Penalty for Drug Dealers? Be Careful What You Wish for, President Trump
Manuel García, Jr.
Why I Am a Leftist (Vietnam War)
Isaac Christiansen
A Left Critique of Russiagate
Howard Gregory
The Unemployment Rate is an Inadequate Reporter of U.S. Economic Health
Ramzy Baroud
Who Wants to Kill Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah?
Roy Morrison
Trouble Ahead: The Trump Administration at Home and Abroad
Roger Hayden
Too Many Dead Grizzlies
George Wuerthner
The Lessons of the Battle to Save the Ancient Forests of French Pete
Binoy Kampmark
Fictional Free Trade and Permanent Protectionism: Donald Trump’s Economic Orthodoxy
Rivera Sun
Think Outside the Protest Box
March 20, 2018
Jonathan Cook
US Smooths Israel’s Path to Annexing West Bank
Jeffrey St. Clair
How They Sold the Iraq War
Chris Busby
Cancer, George Monbiot and Nuclear Weapons Test Fallout
Nick Alexandrov
Washington’s Invasion of Iraq at Fifteen
David Mattson
Wyoming Plans to Slaughter Grizzly Bears
Paul Edwards
My Lai and the Bad Apples Scam
Julian Vigo
The Privatization of Water and the Impoverishment of the Global South
Mir Alikhan
Trump and Pompeo on Three Issues: Paris, Iran and North Korea
Seiji Yamada
Preparing For Nuclear War is Useless
Gary Leupp
Brennan, Venality and Turpitude
Martha Rosenberg
Why There’s a Boycott of Ben & Jerry’s on World Water Day, March 22
John Pilger
Skripal Case: a Carefully-Constructed Drama?
March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography