Thursday, May 11, 2006

Schizophrenia and violence

A comprehensive new study confirms violence is not an anomaly for some patients with schizophrenia. Researchers, using data from the National Institute of Mental Health Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) project, found that 19.1% of participants had a violent incident in a six-month period.

“This study joins a large body of scientific research confirming what we can too easily see each day in the newspaper,” said Treatment Advocacy Center President Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. “Although most individuals with mental illnesses are not violent, violence by a subgroup of individuals with schizophrenia is far from rare. And the violent behavior is almost always associated with the person not having received treatment for their illness. The only solution is treatment.”

The study also found that the symptoms most predictive of violent behavior are positive symptoms, like hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and grandiosity. “Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are not only the ones most predictive of violence, but also the ones most responsive to medication,” noted Dr. Torrey.

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