Psychiatry and politicians – afterword

Published in the The Psychiatrist

Commentary on… Psychiatry and politicians

See special article, pp. 140-145, and commentary, pp. 148-150, this issue.

“Lord Owen has alerted us to the dangers of ill health in heads of government, especially if they strive to keep their illnesses secret. The description of the hubris syndrome is still at an early stage but Owen has provided psychiatrists and other physicians with useful guidance on how to recognise its appearance in persons who hold positions of power. He has also provided advice to doctors caring for such persons.”

“Contempt is one of the more important signs of hubris syndrome. Lying to Parliament or the courts is often a sign of someone in thrall to hubris. In business and banking, collective or corporate hubris is not uncommon as is hubris syndrome among its most powerful leaders. BP, RBS and HBOS need to be the subject of serious case studies for hubris, ‘group think’, tunnel vision, closed minds or silo thinking. There are indications of a neurobiological explanation for the intoxication of power in hubris syndrome.”

For more on Hubris Syndrome, visit – the website of the academic and research oriented Trust dedicated to raising awareness of this important leadership and governance issue.