The American Psychiatric Association, the largest organization of its kind in the nation, has called for an end to "armchair" psychiatry after endless claims that President Trump is mentally unstable and unfit for office.
The APA said there is something known as the “The Goldwater Rule,” which deems it unethical for psychiatrists to claim to have diagnosed public figures whom they have not professionally examined.
"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 APA said.
"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."
Critics claim Trump lacks the mental faculties required for the presidency. Some claim Trump suffers from dementia. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough in November claimed "people close to him during the campaign" have told him that Trump suffers from the invasive disease and called for government leaders to invoke the Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Talking directly to Trump on one show, Scarborough said, "You represent 325 million people whose lives are literally in your hands, and we are facing a showdown with a nuclear power and you have somebody inside the White House that the New York Daily News says is mentally unfit; that people close to him say is mentally unfit; that people close to him during the campaign told me had early stages of dementia."
More recently, Yale University psychiatry professor Dr. Bandy X. Lee, editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,” said Trump's mental health is “unraveling." She actually met with more than a dozen U.S. lawmakers in December, delivering a presentation on why Trump posed a “public health risk." The private meetings lasted more than 16 hours over two days, Politico reported.
But the APA said psychiatrists simply cannot diagnose a patient by watching TV.
“A proper psychiatric evaluation requires more than a review of television appearances, tweets, and public comments,” the APA statement said. “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."
“Using psychiatry for political or self-aggrandizing purposes is stigmatizing for our patients and negatively impacts our profession,” the statement said.
Trump has defended himself, even calling himself a “very stable genius." He will undergo his first medical checkup as president on Friday.
"The President is about to undergo his annual physical examination, and APA has confidence that his physician will follow the standard of care in examining all systems, which includes an age-appropriate medical and mental health evaluation. If mental health concerns are raised, the standard of care would result in the examining physician seeking consultation from an experienced psychiatrist who would approach the consultation with objectivity and within the physician-patient confidential relationship," the APA said.