Are schizophrenics violent?

Due to the dearth of political news, I’m turning my attention to the “medical” field.  After all, how much more can one say about MPs expenses (Baroness Uddin), the worst recession since the 1930s, house prices falling, ID card scheme going full steam ahead, Labour party woes?  Anyhow, I’m presenting my views on the violent tendencies of schizophrenics.

I remember years ago, learning some psychology and psychiatry, that the lecturer wanted to impress upon us that mentally ill patients are no more violent than the rest of the population.  For years, people feared those with mental illness.  That was why there were asylums for them.  According to this lecturer, those with schizophrenia are not more likely to display violent tendencies.

Yet, I find that hard to accept when I do hear about murders and other violent attacks perpetrated by those with mental disorders.  Many of them are either not treated or under-treated, but I have heard of those who were supposedly fully-treated and still misbehaved.  Of course, this could be explained by saying, “perhaps they were not fully-treated”.  I agree that an equal percentage of crimes are committed by those without mental problems, but many would like to claim some type of temporary mental instability.

The fact that people like to claim that they are not responsible for their actions, that the crime was committed while their minds were out of control, makes me believe that having a mental disorder will increase a person’s likelihood of being violent. After all, humans are animals and there will be basic animal instincts.  These instincts are kept under control by a sane, thinking, reasoning mind.  If that mind becomes disordered, the animal instincts are unleashed.  Any perceived threat or stress will result in a self-preserving action.  Some of us will run away, while others will attack.  Since many of these mentally disturbed patients also suffer from delusions of grandeur or other delusions, they will not run.  Instead, they will attack.

I find that if I am walking down the street and I pass someone acting like they do have some mental issues, I am careful not to offend them in any way.  I am afraid to unleash any violent potentialities.  For all my studying, I cannot learn to accept that schizophrenics and other mental patients are not violent.  I suppose that deep down inside I really believe that most people who commit violent crimes have some degree of mental instability.  When we hear of some shocking crime, do we not automatically say, “They must’ve been crazy!”.

Having said all that, I am surprised to find so many schizophrenics living in the community rather than in some group homes.  I can see why there have been failures in the delivery of mental health care.  If these people stop taking their medications or cut down, how would anyone know until they act out violently?

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5 Responses

  1. It is people like you who perpetuate the stigma. You choose not to believe the statistics and you create more harm. Shame on you.

    [Reply]

    Fool Reply:

    If you choose to be accountable for the behaviour of uncontrolled schizophrenics, be my guest.

    I did not state that schizophrenics are violent. I simply question the statement that schizophrenics are no more violent than the general population. Where is the data for this anyway? And how did they come up with this?

    Schizophrenic or not, if I should encounter someone behaving unusually, it raises my level of awareness of that person. Therefore, I will tend to be more careful around them. For example, not making eye contact, as they might misinterpret this.

    If you choose to take a different approach, fine by me; but don’t curse me for being vigilant.

    [Reply]

    Vic Reply:

    I believe you have a good point. I don’t want to go near someone I know because I believe she’s schizophrenic. It comes no where close to a joke, and the behavior is very weird. She gets angry for no reason.

    [Reply]

  2. I know of this schizophrenic, John Nash, who was instrumental in preventing WW3 through his work on games theory. Just a good apple in your basket of imaginary bad ones?

    [Reply]

    Fool Reply:

    I don’t know who you’re addressing, but I never said anything about schizophrenics being non-intelligent. In fact, there have been a number of artists and musicians who have had some form of mental illness or another. I don’t know any “imaginary” schizophrenics, but I have worked very closely with some real psychiatrically diagnosed schizophrenics. When they are on medication, most are decent. I can’t account for what happens when they don’t. In fact, one killed another at a place I once worked.

    [Reply]

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