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According to medical records obtained by Newsweek, Trump was diagnosed with a

“metabolic imbalance” in 1982 by Dr. Joseph Greenberg, a Manhattan endocrinologist.


Unfortunately, it is impossible to know the full meaning of Greenberg’s findings. “Metabolic
imbalance” is a catch-all phrase for different conditions and, in itself, is equivalent of a
diagnosis of “heart problem.” There are electrolyte insufficiencies, anaerobic imbalances, acid
imbalances, and an assortment of related disorders that can have serious health consequences.
According to a 2007 peer-reviewed study in the American Journal of Managed Care, patients
with underlying mental illnesses have a higher incidence of this syndrome.
During the campaign, Trump released a letter from Dr. Harold Bornstein stating that he
had been the then-candidate’s physician since 1980 and that there had been no significant
medical problems throughout that time. The letter did not reveal that Trump had a second
doctor during that time who had diagnosed him with a potentially serious condition.
The medical records and interviews with former officials with the Trump Organization
reveal that Greenberg gave Trump a prescription for amphetamine derivatives in 1982 to treat
his metabolic problem; the records show that Trump continued taking the drugs for a number
of years and the former officials said that Trump stopped using them in 1990 at the latest.
The derivatives were diethylpropion, known under its brand name as tenuate dospan.
These drugs are designed for short-term use; studies have concluded that patients can avoid
developing a dependence on the drug if they take it for 25 weeks or less. But Trump continued
downing the pills for years. According to two people – someone who said Trump would
consider him a friend and a former Trump executive – the then-real estate developer boasted
that the diethylpropion gave him enormous energy and helped him concentrate. A former
Trump executive claimed to have picked up the medication while running errands for the boss.
This person said the prescription, for 75 milligrams of diethylpropion a day, was filled at least
for a time at a Duane Reade drugstore on 57th Street in Manhattan, a few blocks from Trump
Tower. The executive said, like many celebrities, Trump used an alias for the prescription.
According to the Toxicology Data Network at the National Institutes of Health,
diethylpropion has a high risk of dependency and chronic abuse – such as taking it for years –
can cause delusions, paranoia, and hyperactivity. Studies in medical journals also report it can
result in sleeplessness and impulse control problems, characteristics Trump demonstrated
throughout the campaign and in the weeks since his inauguration.
Hope Hicks, a White House spokeswoman, acknowledged that Trump used them as diet
pills for a few days in the early 1980s. However, the medical records contradict the assertion of
the length of time Trump used the drugs and photographs of Trump from 1982 show him to be
quite slender. In a telephone call from Newsweek, Bornstein, Trump’s current doctor, said he
would only answer questions if I could identify the location of Mount Sinai. Assuming he was
referring to the world-renowned hospital, I replied “Manhattan.” He said that was incorrect,
and asked the question again. I asked if he meant the actual Mount Sinai and he said he had not
specified anything. I replied Mount Sinai was in Egypt, in the Sinai Peninsula. He said that was
wrong and hung up. (While Mount Sinai is in Egypt, the location of the Mount Sinai described in
the Bible as the location where God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, if that is what
Bornstein meant, is the subject of debate among religious scholars.)
According to the former Trump executives and the person Trump considers a friend, his
drug use was widely discussed within the company as symptoms of possible abuse began to
emerge. Trump had always been aggressive – sometime brutal – in business as well as loose
with the truth, but in the late 1980s, things had become much worse. While former employees
said he had often been thoughtful and caring to his staff, he suddenly exhibited abusive
behavior that at times seemed irrational. His self-aggrandizement grew to delusions of
grandeur, his thin skin thinned more, his decisions grew more reckless. While he had always
been a liar when it was convenient, he sputtered greater numbers of falsehoods at an alarming
rate and seemed to believe them. When previously he would speak in sexist ways that were
fairly typical in businesses during the early 1980s, toward the end of the decade he seemed to
have no filter and openly said far more inappropriate things about women. The worst impact of
this recklessness may have been on his business; before the late 1980s, Trump usually focused
on one major project at a time to ensure everything met his exacting standards. By the end of
the decade, his reckless shopping spree was legion: he borrowed billions to open one Atlantic
City casino after another, launching another one before any had turned a profit and ultimately
creating a business model where he was competing with himself. As the scaffolding under his
gaming business started collapsing, he borrowed even more money to buy his own airline. All of
those late-1980s businesses flopped, sending Trump companies into multiple bankruptcies.
Trump stopped the diethylpropion completely in 1990 under the supervision of a doctor, a
former executive with his company said (ending the drug after long-term use causes serious
withdrawal problems.) There is no evidence that Trump ever began using them again and,
according to people who knew him throughout the 1990s, he returned to his arrogant,
aggressive, self-aggrandizing, yet far more reasonable self.