Monday, November 07, 2005

Why'd He Go Nuts?

I was doing my usual reading this morning when something struck me. I've been thinking about this for some time, but when Eric Alterman wrote it, I got curious:
Why did Cheney go nuts after 9/11? He was a conservative realist one day and a raving “faith-based” empire-builder, nation-builder, torture-supporter and deliberate deceiver on behalf of all of it the next. And since he’s the most powerful man in the world—Rove is only president for domestic policy—this is really terrifying, methinks.)
There are a number of Cheney "insider" stories right now wondering the same thing. Cheney has always been conservative. However, he has a history of being much more measured and reasoned in his approach to government. But in this administration he's become maniacal.

So what happened?

I remember running across information on a high rate of association between cardiac disease and depression. And not just depression because a patient is sick, but a real association that is not related to the stress of having cardiac disease.

I googled cardiac disease and mental health and got this. There are any number of studies showing the association. Even an association between depression and coronary artery disease without a heart attack.

If you understand depression, you also understand that the line between "affective disorders" (depression and associated disorders) and "anxiety disorders" (anxiety, OCD, PTSD and others) is very very close. In fact the medications perscribed to treat many anxiety disorders are the same as for treatment of depression. A very common symptom of depression is anxiety and the whole constellation of obsessive disorder symptoms. In other words, some people who are depressed can become extremely serious, dour and obsessive to the point of losing touch with reality.

Dick Cheney has always presented as a very serious, intense person. Could he be suffering from chronic depression associated with his cardiac disease? Could the stress of a rigourous election campaign, followed by 911 and then further heart difficulties have caused, or exacerbated, a depressive disorder with symptoms of obsessiveness? Remember, the big Dick was a target during 911, actually in Washington and the White House during the attacks and likely taking it quite personally. And what of his occasional disappearances to "undisclosed locations"? And if a doctor, or friend, or wife approached him with concern about depression, would he listen?

Of course this is a theory that's impossible to know from afar. But with everyone wondering, "what happened to Dick Cheney?", and speculation that he's gone off the deep end, you gotta wonder. If Cheney is like most American "tough guy" type men, he would resist admitting to a problem and resist treatment. And while everyone is speculating about Bush being wacko, isn't it as plausible (or perhaps more plausible) that Cheney is the one with problems?

I hope if he's having problems of this sort, someone is confronting the problem and he's open to treatment. Diagnosis is sometimes difficult for individuals who have suffered from an endogenous depression, that has been ongoing for a long time (dysthymia). But once diagnosed, treatment is highly effective.

How about a mental health checkup Dick?


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous sister of ye said...

Of course, it's even more likely that they both are batshit crazy.

A Duke University study has described a syndrome it refers to as "pump head," a loss of cognitive function possibly caused by the heart-lung machine. Depression is also associated with cardiac problems. One or both could explain much about Cheney's mental state.

Or could finally be in a position to allow all his inner evil to come out.

At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude's been nuts the whole time. I talked with a WH correspondent two weeks ago--a face every one of us knows. Cheney was described as a "maniac."

At 4:48 AM, Blogger Lynne said...

I don't think anyone in the upper tier of this administration is mentally healthy.

At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To paraphrase one of the first questions a cardiac specialist asks a patient: do you have feelings of impending doom or feel that you're going to die soon?

This could partially explain the Dark Lord's devil-may-care attitude. OTOH, maybe his inherent evilness can no longer be disguised.


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