Dealing with Depression at the Top
> 2/24/2006 8:34:01 AM

According to recent analysis by Duke University psychiatrists of biographical information of U.S. Presidents from Thomas Jefferson to Jimmy Carter, almost half of the men in our highest office dealt with mental illness during their lives. Many times these Presidents were battling with their disorders while still in office.

Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson experienced symptoms that indicated bipolar disorder, while Calvin Coolidge slipped into a deep depression after the loss of his son (one might even say that in the case of the latter, the country truly did follow its leader). Abraham Lincoln's depression has been a popular topic with biographers in recent years. In his two terms President Grant battled alcohol, as did Nixon following the breaking of the Watergate scandal.

As the researchers noted:
"What is hopeful about this is that it is evidence that people can suffer from depression or other mental problems and still function at a presidential level, if not at their best."

In this same vain, hopefully, as more information begins to come out regarding the extent to which depression and other mental illnesses have afflicted some of history's best and brightest, the stigma that is attached to these disorders will be dissipated. While its effects can be debilitating, clearly, depression need not be an end to productivity or success. Likewise, disorders like BPD or alcoholism can be treated, allowing people to achieve great things.

Hat tip, Mind Hacks

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