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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Psychiatry’s “Goldwater Rule” has never met a test like Donald Trump

Brian Resnick
Originally published May 25, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Some psychiatrists are saying it’s time to rethink this core ethical guideline. The rule, they say, is acting like a gag order, preventing qualified psychiatrists from giving the public important perspective on the mental health of a president whose behavior is out of step with any other president in history.

“The public has a right to medical and psychiatric knowledge about its leaders — at least in a democracy,” Nassir Ghaemi, a Tufts University psychiatrist, recently argued at an APA conference. “Why can’t we have a reasoned scientific discussion on this matter? Why do we just have complete censorship?”

The controversy is sure to rage on, as many psychiatrists stand by the professional precedent. The rule itself has even been expanded recently. But just the existence of the debate is an incredible moment not only in the field of psychiatry but in American politics. It’s not just armchair psychiatrists who are concerned about Trump’s mental health — some of the real ones are even willing to rethink their professional ethics because of it.

The article is here.