Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Mental Illness Alone Not Linked to Violence

Mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder alone do not make people more violent, but the tendency of people with psychiatric problems to abuse drugs or alcohol does, scientists said on Monday.

Excerpt

Researchers from Britain and Sweden who studied rates of violent crime among people with severe mental disorders said it appeared that the higher risk of substance abuse is the key.

They found that while rates of violent crime are higher among people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia than in the general population, they are similar in people with mental illness and those who abuse substances but are not mentally ill.

When the results were adjusted to removed the influence of alcohol or illegal drug abuse, rates of violence among psychiatric patients were barely changed from levels in the general population, they said.

“Substance abuse is really the key mediator of violent crime. If you take away the substance abuse, the contribution of the illness…is very minimal,” said Seena Fazel of Oxford University’s department of psychiatry, who led a study.

September 8, 2010 - Posted by | Health News Items | ,

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