Could Abraham Lincolns Depression Benefited From Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy?
Few Americans know that President Abraham Lincoln, the man who held the North together through the bloody days of the Civil War, struggled with depression throughout most of his life. Yet Lincoln was not the only president to deal with mental illness. A recent Duke University study published in the January issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that 18 of 37 U.S. presidents experienced periods of chronic mental illness. They ranged in severity from Woodrow Wilson’s anxiety to Richard Nixon’s alcohol abuse to Teddy Roosevelt’s bipolar disorder. The job of our nation’s leader is stressful, but for some of the presidents studied, their conditions existed long before their political careers and were not caused by the rigors of office. Indeed, Dr. Jonathan Davidson and his co-authors found that the prevalence of mental illness in 49 percent of the presidents studied actually reflected national disease rates in the general population at the time. Lincoln’s own testimonies t