A Tale of Two Presidents with Personality Disorders

February/18/2015 5:12AM
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Vladimir Putin may be autistic, according to a newly revealed study.

The Russian president was diagnosed in 2008 with Asperger’s syndrome by Pentagon-commissioned researchers, according to USA Today. The experts claim his condition is the result of his neurological development being disrupted at a young age.

“Project neurologists confirm this research project’s earlier hypothesis that very early in life perhaps, even in utero, Putin suffered a huge hemispheric event to the left temporal lobe of the prefrontal cortex, which involves both central and peripheral nervous systems, gross motor functioning on his right side (head, rib cage, arm and leg) and his micro facial expression, eye gaze, hearing and voice and general affect,” said the report.

The surprising prognosis was made without the benefit of a brain scan, normally a prerequisite for such a find, but was explained through analysis of Putin’s often questionable judgement, which has been under intense scrutiny since his country’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and backing of Ukraine separatists.

Putin also infamously appeared to make a pass at the wife of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s wife during an economic summit in Asia.

Asperger’s syndrome is “an autistic disorder which affects all of his decisions,” concluded the 2008 study, which has been reviewed by AOL News.

The Russian strongman’s “neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy,” according to lead researcher Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the U.S. Naval War College.

USA Today uncovered the bizarre study under a Freedom of Information Act filing and posted a copy of it to Scribd. It is embedded below.

The research team also concluded that U.S. officials would be well-advised to avoid loud or crowded venues in dealing with the Russian leader.

“If you need to do things with him, you don’t want to be in a big state affair but more of one-on-one situation someplace somewhere quiet,” concluded Dr, Stephen Porges, a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina who is quoted in the study.

Porges, in comments to USA Today, appeared to distance himself from at least part of his earlier findings, saying he “would back off saying [Putin] has Asperger’s.”

But the 2008 study, and a 2011 follow-up report claim Putin’s physical difficulties and poor decision making stem from a form of Autism.

“His primary form of compensation is extreme control, [which] is reflected in his decision style and how he governs,” said the report.

U.S. officials’ scrutiny over Putin’s gestures apparently dates back to his 2000 inauguration as President of Russia, USA Today reported.

The researchers also advised officials to provide “the information-craving” Putin with “meaty policy research and white papers,” according to the 2011 report.

This allows him to withdraw into his thoughts away from the spotlight and come to more logical conclusions meant for public consumption.

2008 Putin Study

Your tax dollars paid for USA Today to do this research through the Pentagon.


This one’s on me. I just Googled narcissistic personality disorder. If Russia’s president suffers from Asperger’s what does America’s president suffer from? Here’s my diagnosis. Tell me what you think.


Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and other areas of their life, such as work or school.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may feel a sense of entitlement — and when you don’t receive special treatment, you may become impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — for instance, the best car, athletic club or medical care.

At the same time, you have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation. To feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make yourself appear superior. Or you may feel depressed and moody because you fall short of perfection.

Many experts use the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, to diagnose mental conditions. This manual is also used by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerating your achievements and talents
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations
  • Taking advantage of others to get what you want
  • Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others and believing others envy you
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal and value yourself more than you value others.

When to see a doctor

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections.

If you recognize aspects of your personality that are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.


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Comment (1)

  1. Charlotte says:

    Yeah, I’ll be holding my breath on Obummer going to a doc.

    He thinks he is PERFECT. No way…NEVER.

    Interesting about Putin, but I do not believe he is autistic or has Asperger’s. People who suffer from those are not generally able to become the President of a country. They generally struggle with living life day to day.

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