Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents and Mental Issues

Since this is Presidents week I wanted to write a little more on some of our Presidents who suffered from various mental issues. I read that Calvin Coolidge had hypochondria, and Grant and Thomas Jefferson were diagnosed with social phobia. Richard Nixon and George W.Bush had alcohol problems.

According to a Duke University study, "A fairly high number of people have mental disease at some level, so it would be surprising if presidents didn't," said John Aldrich, professor of political science. "Certain things, like depression, are associated with artistic accomplishment. At least 10 presidents were affected by episodes while in office, and the study found evidence that symptoms interfered with their performance in almost all cases."

According to the article, contemporaries of Grant, James Madison, Rutherford Hayes and Woodrow Wilson who watched them as young men would have thought that these men would do very little with their lives based on their seeming mental problems or deficiencies.

It is very difficult to function normally when faced with a mental issue, I can only imagine what the Presidents went through.

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