White House or Cuckoo?s Nest?
An increasing number of people around the world believe the people who run America need to have their heads examined. And now a study virtually supports that theory.india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 01:23 IST
An increasing number of people around the world believe the people who run America need to have their heads examined. And now a study virtually supports that theory.
According to a recent analysis of biographical sources by psychiatrists at Duke University Medical Centre, almost 50 per cent of American presidents from 1789 to 1974 had at least one mental illness in their lives.
And more than half of those presidents, the study found, struggled with their symptoms - most often depression - while in office.
As a young man, Abraham Lincoln experienced bouts of despair so profound that friends were concerned he might commit suicide. Ulysses S. Grant often avoided social occasions and retreated into alcohol.
And in most cases, the disorders recall the men: the indefatigable Theodore Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson showed symptoms of the manic energy that characterises bipolar disorder; Richard Nixon drank heavily through the Watergate period; and Calvin Coolidge plunged into a pit of depression after his teenage son died of an infection.
Dr Jonathan Davidson, Dr Kathryn Connor and Dr Marvin Swartz catalogued symptoms from presidential papers and biographies and reported their findings in the current issue of The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. The New York Times