Yesterday, The Times published an article of questionable virtue by its resident medical columnist, Dr Thomas Stuttaford, in which he implies that both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have personality disorders.
“…[I]t is interesting that Tony Blair, charming and charismatic as he is, scores a full house of ticks for a histrionic personality disorder, and scores in the boxes of a few other personality disorders too” writes Stuttaford.
And he observes that Prime Minister Brown:
“…shows symptoms of the personality disorders grouped together in DSM4 as cluster A disorders. He is likely to be demanding, self- absorbed, have difficulties in relationships with others, suffer discomfort in social situations with unfamiliar people, have vaguely unsettling inappropriate gestures or facial expressions and may be so focused that he finds it difficult to concentrate on subjects other than that which has caught his immediate attention.”
Stuttaford’s main thesis is that it takes someone a bit odd to reach the very top. Whilst there may be a kernel of truth to that claim, I’m not convinced that anyone wins from this kind of arm chair diagnosis: It surely detracts from the suffering of those people who really do have a personality disorder, and feeds the cynicism of those who think psychiatrists are desperate to slap a diagnosis on everyone and his dog.
PS. The views expressed in this post are my personal views. I’m not speaking for the Society.