Political Attention Deficit Disorder, a new psychiatric condition
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
Online Journal Contributing Writer
Jun 26, 2007, 01:21
According to a report not yet released, the Council on
Science and Public Health of the American Medical Association has recommended
that a chronic and widespread affliction of Americans be officially declared a
psychiatric disorder. It has been named Political Attention Deficit Disorder
It is recommended that the disorder be included in a widely
used mental illness manual created and published by the American Psychiatric
Association. The current manual was published in 1994; the next edition is to
be completed in 2012. The benefit to people of an official classification is
coverage by health insurance.
�The symptoms of PADD are all around us and treating it
professionally can do more for our country than any election,� said Dr. Mable
Wank in the report�s introduction; she is chairwoman of the council and a
professor at UCLA.
Below are the council�s main findings on PADD.
Nearly 80 percent of adult American citizens are unable to
pay sustained attention to issues and problems associated with their
government. They are unable to accept their responsibility as citizens,
including their obligation to vote, read in-depth articles and books on
political issues, become active members of politically oriented groups, and
initiate discussions on current events with friends and family.
�The decades-old decline in voter turnout is a direct result
of a national epidemic of PADD,� said the report.
The chief cause of PADD is the desire to avoid the very real
pain of cognitive dissonance, the difference between what Americans want to
believe about the greatness of their country and the disturbing reality that
their government and country are in terrible shape, which is a constant
reminder when there is normal, healthy political attention. Such pain
suppression, however, is counterproductive and was found through careful
studies at several universities, including the Harvard Medical College, to
correlate with depression and anxiety disorders, as well as a heightened level
of cynicism and despair. According to the report, many suicides and possibly
many criminal acts result from PADD.
Another consequence of PADD is that people devote more of
their time, energy and money to pleasure-seeking distractions. PADD is
correlated with profound statistical significance to clinical symptoms such as
obesity, alcoholism, drug addiction, video game addiction, Internet addiction,
sexual promiscuity, excessive shopping, gambling addiction, and other harmful
The report profiles a person severely afflicted by PADD. The
psychiatrists unanimously concluded that George W. Bush is a PADD victim.
Symptoms include no desire to pursue major and contentious policy issues
through in-depth reading, discussion and analysis; a clear dependence on others
for policy decisions, particularly Vice President Cheney; an inability to
maintain sustained focus on diverse policy issues simultaneously; and an
inability to articulate policy. The widespread public perception that Bush is
unintelligent, uninformed and dogmatic stems from his PADD, concluded the
�He needs immediate, emergency therapy for his PADD; that
might help get us out of Iraq,� said Dr. Wank.
Reached by phone, Dr. Aaron Gestaltstein, a council member
and psychiatrist with the Michigan Institute for the Study of Individual and
Societal Health, said the AMA proposal will help raise awareness and called it
�the right thing to do if the United States is ever to regain effective
government and equitable public policies.�
�Sick Americans deserve compassionate treatment if our
country is to survive -- PADD is no joke,� he added.
�I saw a college-educated man last month who was so depressed
about the Bush administration -- yet he could no longer read newspapers, watch
cable news shows or visit news and commentary websites. He was spending
virtually all of his non-work time visiting pornography websites and eating at
Chinese buffets,� Gestaltstein said. �He is a terrible mess and swears he will
never vote again.�
The challenge for psychiatrists treating PADD patients, as
noted in the council�s report, is to help Americans fully integrate political
attention into their lives. Their discomfort and hopelessness must be changed
into positive behaviors. Friends and relatives of PADD victims are urged to get
them to join public interest groups working for the betterment of American
government and society, such as Friends of the
Article V Convention.Joel
S. Hirschhorn is the author of "Delusional
Democracy -- Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the
a founder of Friends of the Article V
Convention. He can be reached through www.delusionaldemocracy.com.
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