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Image by Marek Studzinski from Pixabay

COVID-19 attacks bodies in multiple ways, not even sparing our hearts. The death of a college football player in September, when social and political pressures pushed professional and college athletes back on the field, heightened awareness of the cardiac risks of the virus. While cardiologists and trainers worry about the long term impact this coronavirus has on cardiac muscle, mental health experts have been cataloging its effects on our heartstrings. This virus destroys not just with death, economic collapse, and erosion of long term health, but through forced isolation as well.

Covid Hurts the Physical Heart

Shortly after identifying COVID-19, researchers learned that the virus gains entry to human cells by binding to ACE-2 receptors. Laboratory science revealed that the heart, being more densely studded with ACE-2 receptors than the lungs, might be a potential target for the virus. Several months into the pandemic, one study found that three quarters of adults infected with COVID-19 showed MRI abnormalities of the heart, and 60% showed signs of ongoing cardiac inflammation. Even more alarming, only a third of these individuals had been ill enough to warrant hospitalization, and the inflammation was present weeks after they had stopped testing positive for the virus. …


We must re-establish truth to resume engagement

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Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

Has truth been the biggest casualty of the Trump era? Or is this just an exacerbation of a pre-existing trend?

After perusing hundreds of millions of ballots cast over several years, the president’s commission investigating fraud in federal elections found only a handful of illegal ballots, most of which appeared to be simple mistakes, not intentional crimes. That was George W. Bush’s commission, which wrapped up in 2007. In his first year in office, Trump set up a similar commission to uncover federal election fraud, which disbanded after being unable to substantiate any pervasive patterns of misbehavior tainting our elections. …


How Mental Illness Shapes the President’s Behavior

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Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash photoshopped by Zola CK

A concession stand is more likely than a concession speech.

Narcissism first (of course it’s first…)

“Trump’s conceded! Trump’s conceded!” Marcia often began our therapy sessions by bringing up world affairs that contributed to her anxiety. She had seen a faux news clip compiled by a foe of the president, purporting to feature Trump announcing his election defeat. I told her “We already know that Trump’s conceited — you’ve been talking about his narcissism for months!” Marcia had seen similarities between the behavior of her neglectful, abusive, and self-centered father, and how Donald Trump had been treating the world for the last four years. …


Observations from Running in the Dark

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Image by Comfreak from Pixabay

“It’s the aurora borealis! It’s the aurora borealis!” Martin’s Scottish burr startled me awake a few hours after midnight. A half dozen of us were recuperating in a rental van on the side of the road, halfway down the San Francisco peninsula, prior to our last legs in the Napa to Santa Cruz Relay. Parked under a freeway overpass, the dancing red and green from nearby traffic lights pulsed across the underside of the concrete arc, confusing Martin into thinking that he was viewing a vibrant display of the Northern Lights.

At close to fifty, Martin was the oldest and one of the fastest members of our group, and usually one of the most stoic. Having grown up at northern latitudes, he was familiar with the aurora borealis. But physically exhausted, sleep-deprived, and desynchronized from running around the clock, he had misinterpreted what his eyes were seeing. Two decades later, I can still vividly recall the disorientation night running can cause. …


Many movements grew in opposition to you

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Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

As I write this, Donald Trump flails strenuously, if haphazardly, to nullify the results of the presidential election. He claims systemic voter fraud, not just without evidence, but against all available evidence. Reporters refute his claims, courts throw out his objections, yet he still strives to undermine the vote. And yet, we can thank Trump for strengthening American democracy. Trump prompted positive changes in our behavior.

Trump not only strengthened democracy. He built up the Black Lives Matter movement. He invigorated the Me Too campaign. In much the same way that George W. …


He’d be more stable and we’d be more safe

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Image by D G from Pixabay tablets

During a recent interview about neurodiversity, I was asked why President Trump doesn’t take his stimulant medications consistently. I had already described the behaviorally based definition of ADHD, how data from the public record amply and objectively confirms that Trump has the condition, and the evidence (hugely dilated pupils, drastically reduced hyperactivity, increased coherence of speech) that Trump takes stimulant medications when he wants to reduce his ADHD symptoms and appear presidential. I explained that while we could be certain of Trump’s ADHD, and his use of stimulant medications, we would be speculating if we discussed why he only consumes his medications sporadically. …


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Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country, I don’t know.”

At a recent campaign rally, Mr. Trump mused about the possibility of losing the election. Of course, he focused on the consequences for himself, rather than expressing concern for the country, his party, or his followers. His words titillated our jaded press, both because he appeared to acknowledge the likelihood of his losing the election, and because he could become the first fugitive ex-president.

I’m surprised that the president still retains the ability to surprise others with his comments. To me, the only really shocking thing he could say would be “I spent yesterday reading up on this point of constitutional law, and on further reflection, I agree with my opponents that I have made an egregious mistake, for which I must apologize.” Research, thoughtfulness, comprehension, respect, acceptance of guilt, atonement, and decorum on the part of Mr. Trump would astonish us. …


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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

While Republicans assertively and assiduously work to suppress mail-in voting, reality seems poised to intrude and suppress their own in-person voting on election day. Mired in misinformation, most Trump supporters will vote for their leader even if he whips out a pistol to intimidate a heckler on 5th Avenue, and inadvertently shoots himself in the foot. However, a subset of his previous supporters, capable of independent thought and foresight, may be susceptible to information that dissuades them from voting for Trump. …


ADHD Awareness Starts at the Top

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Image by Klaus Hausmann from Pixabay

Americans should attend to what we already know about Donald Trump’s health instead of focusing on unanswered COVID-19 questions. The White House perpetuates mistrust and confusion by not revealing when Mr. Trump first tested positive for COVID-19, what his symptoms have been, and if he has fully recovered. Obsessed with whether coronavirus treatment has rendered him “unstable and confused”, we overlook the president’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which has mightily contributed to chaos over the past four years. We ignore, at our peril, the certain and salient fact that he meets full criteria for ADHD.

A strange confluence of factors allows this definitive diagnosis. The official description of ADHD consists entirely of observable behaviors, and we possess a treasure trove of publicly available, behavioral data on Mr. Trump to establish the diagnosis. In contrast, to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder, we must presume knowledge of his motivations and feelings if we deem that he acts with arrogance, or doesn’t care about others’ feelings. Only ADHD is defined by simple, objective, actions. …


Impeach justices before court expansion or term limits

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Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash

As Republicans rush to install Amy Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court, Democrats have rumbled that if they control the levers of government in January, they might add additional seats to the Court to correct for the extremist conservative bias. Representative Ro Khanna and other progressives have also proposed limiting Court appointments to eighteen years rather than the current lifetime tenure. Before considering these structural changes we might want to revisit impeachment, specifically, impeaching Justices Kavanaugh and Thomas.

The possibility of a possible future impeachment arose during the vitriolic hearings that resulted in seating Brett Kavanaugh on the Court two years ago. Available evidence strongly indicates that both Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas lied under oath during their nomination hearings to obtain their seats on the court. Both men appear to have made untrue and misleading statements about their sexual harassment of women. In both cases, multiple credible witnesses could have refuted parts of the justices’ sworn testimony. And in both cases, Republican Senators who did not want to hear the truth foreclosed the official investigations and the public discussions about the mens’ actions. …

About

John Kruse

John Kruse MD, PhD, San Francisco psychiatrist, father of twins, marathon runner. Author of Recognizing Adult ADHD: What Donald Trump Can Teach Us About ADHD

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