Does Gov. Sanford Suffer from Dissociative Fugue?

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2009/06/does-gov-sanford-suffer-from-dissociative-fugue/20029/