Does Gov. Sanford Suffer from Dissociative Fugue?

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Gov. Sanford's strange vanishing act -- he was thought to be hiking the Appalachian Trail alone, until he washed up in Argentina -- prompts me to wonder if he suffers from a condition known as dissociative fugue disorder. When a person is in this fugue state, he'll pick up and travel suddenly to some random point, not at all sure why he's doing it, and sometimes with little memory of who he is. For a fuller description of this unusual condition, read this. Here's one interesting observation from the Merck Manual:

Dissociative fugue is often mistaken for malingering because both conditions may give people an excuse to avoid their responsibilities (as in an intolerable marriage), to avoid accountability for their actions, or to reduce their exposure to a known hazard, such as a battle. However, dissociative fugue, unlike malingering, occurs spontaneously and is not faked.

If I were on Sanford's spin patrol, I'd certainly look into this.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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