Michael Wolff's book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” has caused quite the stir in Washington. One claim that Wolff made during an appearance on the “Today” show was that everyone around President Donald Trump questions his mental fitness.
Trump replied to allegations with a response of his own, calling himself mentally stable and going as far as to identify himself as a “genius.” Regardless, some in the media hopped on the Trump isn't mentally fit train, and went full steam ahead.
CNN's Brian Stelter said that the “past year has been full of reasons to question” Trump's fitness. Then on Tuesday, Don Lemon took the time to interview Ron Reagan Jr., who told the CNN host that the president's mental health “is up for question.”
And now, the American Psychiatric Association — the world's largest psychiatric group — has issued a statement. They don't find anything funny or appropriate in trying to diagnose the president. In fact, the top body of psychiatrists hammered those who are attempting to play doctor.
Its statement reads, in part:
Today, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) reiterates its continued and unwavering commitment to the ethical principle known as “The Goldwater Rule.”
We at the APA call for an end to psychiatrists providing professional opinions in the media about public figures whom they have not examined, whether it be on cable news appearances, books, or in social media. Armchair psychiatry or the use of psychiatry as a political tool is the misuse of psychiatry and is unacceptable and unethical.
The ethical principle, in place since 1973, guides physician members of the APA to refrain from publicly issuing professional medical opinions about individuals that they have not personally evaluated in a professional setting or context. Doing otherwise undermines the credibility and integrity of the profession and the physician-patient relationship.
Although APA's ethical guidelines can only be enforced against APA members, we urge all psychiatrists, regardless of membership, to abide by this guidance in respect of our patients and our profession.
A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments. Psychiatrists are medical doctors; evaluating mental illness is no less thorough than diagnosing diabetes or heart disease.
The standards in our profession require review of medical and psychiatric history and records and a complete examination of mental status. Often collateral information from family members or individuals who know the person well is included, with permission from the patient.
The APA also mentioned that as the president is scheduled to undergo his routine physical exam this year, they are confident his doctor will follow all the necessary standards, for both his physical and mental health.
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