Bandy X. Lee
6 min readMar 28, 2021

How a Psychiatric Association Sickened Society’s Mental Health

It is now happening. I once said that Donald Trump was more dangerous than Adolf Hitler, despite being less cunning, because of: (a) the power of the U.S. presidency; (b) the complacency of his opposition; and (c) the obvious gullibility of his followers. He may be partially gone, but the conditions he exploited and accelerated remain. What is unknown to most of the public is the active enabling of these conditions by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Our insistence that “it can’t happen here” all but guaranteed it would happen, and it is happening. Hitler and Trump both exhibited a personality structure that is very common — I have treated about a thousand in my twenty-year career — which is why mental health professionals were the first to recognize the dangers of the former president. The elevation of such a personality to a leadership position was a reflection of poor societal mental health, which is by definition self-destructive.

Fascism is not a political ideology but mental pathology in politics. It happens when pathology goes unrecognized, and power is placed in the wrong hands, often eagerly. Fostered by the flattery of underlings and buoyed by the adulation of crowds, certain personality defects predictably morph into grotesque delusions of grandeur and impunity, resulting in abuses of power and, eventually, atrocities. Awed by the exaggerated self-image of a leader, without recognizing that it is overcompensation for lack, those similarly predisposed willingly enlist in an authoritarian cult of…

Bandy X. Lee

Forensic psychiatrist, violence expert, president of the World Mental Health Coalition (, and New York Times bestselling author.