“Narcissistic Personality Disorder” is probably as good a shorthand for what’s wrong with George W. Bush as any other. But it seems to me grossly unethical for a psychiatrist to use his professional credentials and professional jargon as a way of attacking a politician he hates.
First of all, it’s nonsense. Bill Frist made a fool of himself in the Schiavo case by diagnosing someone he hadn’t examined. No one who hasn’t examined George W. Bush ought to purport to express an expert opinion about his mental health. Second, a physician has a license to heal, not to harm. I doubt that having one’s mental illness discussed in public is therapeutic.
I’d like to see the American Psychiatric Association take a firm stance against this abuse, and I’d like to see medical boards take disciplinary action against those who so demean the physician’s role.
Update A reader points out an omission:
I couldn’t agree with your parallel to Frist more, but you failed to mention an even better one: Charles Krauthammer’s repeated abuse of his psychiatric credentials, eg labeling Al Gore “crazy” in the absence of any evaluation. If he clarified that that was a political rather than a psychiatric opinion, this language might be (borderline) acceptable, but as far as I know, he’s failed to do that. As a clinical psychologist and psychiatric nurse practitioner, I find this behavior offensive, and it should be grounds for action by the relevant medical boards, but it never is. (I’d be in a heap of trouble with the psychology board here in Washington state if I ever did anything like this, and that’s as it should be.)
Noted with thanks.