Speakeasy forum

General discussion

US historical presidency gets time on the couch

The psychiatric couch, that is, from a study done by Duke University Dept. of Psychiatry professors.


(excerpts from article)
It turns out that about half the presidents between George Washington and Richard M. Nixon suffered from some sort of psychiatric disorder.

The sheer volume of psychiatric disorders resident in the historical presidency is, at first blush, staggering. Most of us have given very little thought to the mental health of, say, Rutherford B. Hayes (major depressive disorder) or James Garfield (depression, again). But to realize that 10 presidents suffered from depression is to concentrate the mind on why it often seems so difficult for presidents to concentrate the mind.

In truth, there is a very important message in the three psychiatrists' report, published this winter in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. This study tells us that presidents are more vulnerable and less perfect than we sometimes think. It tells us that people with mental illness can be highly functional and highly successful. And, because the presidents suffer rates of mental illness roughly comparable to the general public, it reminds us that mental illness, especially depression, is more widespread than we sometimes acknowledge.

This report may become irresistible fodder for political scientists of the Jay Leno and Jon Stewart schools, but if interpreted soberly it may be one of the most potent political tools the mental-health lobby has ever acquired.

The important implications of this study: There is no evidence that mental illness led to national catastrophe. (Indeed, it was a man with severe mental disorders who saved the nation during its gravest challenge, the Civil War.) And the prominence of mental illness in our most prominent citizens can only serve to diminish the stigma of psychological problems. In that regard, some of our presidents are serving their country long after having left office.


Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: US historical presidency gets time on the couch
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: US historical presidency gets time on the couch
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Considering the pressures of the job...

In reply to: US historical presidency gets time on the couch

It's always seemed to me that you'd have to be a little crazy to want it and that doing it would be bound to drive a person around the bend.

Collapse -
(NT) (NT) I have always believed that, EdH! :)

In reply to: Considering the pressures of the job...

Popular Forums

Computer Newbies 10,686 discussions
Computer Help 54,365 discussions
Laptops 21,181 discussions
Networking & Wireless 16,313 discussions
Phones 17,137 discussions
Security 31,287 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 22,101 discussions
Windows 7 8,164 discussions
Windows 10 2,657 discussions


Enter to win* a free holiday tech gift!

CNET's giving five lucky winners the gift of their choice valued up to $250!