The most dangerous myth about psychosis

We may hear comments on the news, radio, or even soap opera stories that point to psychotics and other mentally ill people as people who can easily become violent. And the media feeds the myth that hallucinations and delusions affect our behavior, making us violent. However, these symptoms, classic of schizophrenia, very rarely cause acts of violence, a new study has found.

Only 12% of violent acts were preceded by psychosis in a high-risk minority group

The , which included 305 violent incidents in the United States, strongly refutes the idea that psychosis causes people to commit violent acts.

Only 12% of violent acts were preceded by psychosis in a high-risk minority group.

Much more common precedents for violence were anger, substance abuse, and access to firearms.

The scientists used follow-up data from 1,100 people who were discharged from a psychiatric facility. Of these, a minority group of 100 high-risk patients was observed who were involved in at least two acts of violence after being discharged. In this small group, only 12% of violent acts were found to be linked to psychosis.

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The researchers also interviewed his former patients and their friends and family.

The lead author of the study, Professor Jennifer Skeem, explains that what they attempted to do was examine the small group of people involved in repeated acts of violence and see if the incidents were caused by hallucinations and delusions.

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People who suffer from a mental disorder are more likely to be victims of violent crimes

The results of the study add to another that found that less than 5% of gun murders were carried out by people with any mental illness.

In fact, that the average person.

Professor Skeem believes it is important to highlight that this does not mean that people with mental illness do not need access to psychiatric services. Also, she emphasizes that the risk factors for violence (substance abuse, abuse suffered in childhood, disadvantaged neighborhoods, etc.) are shared by people with and without mental illnesses and efforts should be focused there to achieve a society Safer.

To this we can add that the media must be careful in their investigations and try not to make comments lightly, since the scope of their influence is very great and they can help to entrench myths that increase the suffering of people with disabilities. mental diseases.