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Mark Goulston, M.D.: Mark Sanford: When Bullsh**ters See Red…

July 4th, 2009, 07:07 pm admin Leave a comment Go to comments

When bullsh**ters see red,
their common sense is dead.

What is it that Mark Sanford, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Elliott Spitzer AND Bernie Madoff have in common?

It’s not that they all cheated on someone; it’s that they’re all “Adrenaline Junkies.” Adrenaline is like “power” junk food. When you’re in the middle of an adrenaline rush, you feel invincible, powerful, above the rules and above all, special. But one thing all these power junkies don’t reckon on until it’s too late is that “the thrill of an adrenaline rush is only exceeded by the utter angst of an adrenaline crash.”

In essence these people are hooked on natural cocaine and like most cocaine addicts, they can become desperate to do and take anything to prevent the adrenaline crash. It’s in that moment of desperation that concern for consequences is thrown to the wind.

What is truly frightening about powerful people — and usually men — who are adrenaline junkies is wondering if and how it affects their judgment outside of the adrenaline pumping activity. Ironically and thankfully, a man’s area of competence is usually the last to go when they’re hooked on adrenaline. They’ll still be able to function competently long after they have destroyed their marriage or their finances, but there are occasions when it crosses over into behavior that can affect thousands, i.e. Bernie Madoff, or possibly an entire country, if in fact it played a role in the George W. Bush/Dick Cheney taking us to war with Iraq.

What’s the take home from this? When you’re on an adrenaline high, smoke gets in your mind and
your judgment becomes cloudy. And when you begin to crash off that high judgment and common sense goes out the window and you will do anything to keep it going, and I mean anything.

.If the saying, “All that glitters isn’t gold,” is true, maybe all that glows can turn out to be fool’s gold.

* Basil and Spice: Why common sense takes a holiday
* Et tu, Governor Sanford?
* Taking infidelity to a new level
* 10 Reasons NOT to Date a Married man

More on John Edwards


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