Thesis: Risk of Committing Violence

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[. . .] However, this study presented mixed results; first, it was realized that both mental illness and drug abuse portrayed increases in the likelihood of prisoners arrest several years after their release from prisons. On the contrary, the study upheld that individuals with symptoms of both hallucinations as well as misconceptions had elevated percentages of arrests following repletion of criminal activities long after prison acquittals, but to a lesser percentage. As a research concern, it was realized that findings were similar after excluding prior violence activities and age issues. Therefore, this study disproves the fact that mentally ill criminals have a tendency of engaging in criminal acts after they have been freed. The main study limitation was the random selection of detainees; this likely flawed the results since not all the participants from the study were mentally ill, drug dependent, the mentally unstable individuals could have been a representation of the real facts. Thus, for future research, the participants should be carefully selected while emphasizing on mental condition among other issues.

There are several studies that oppose the notion that mental disorders are interrelated with the possibility of committing violence. An example is Monahan who ascertains that there is insufficient evidence linking violence and the mentally ill. There have been ideas circulating that crime and mental disorders does not exist as was illustrated in a 1983 study by Monahan and Steadman. According to this notion, individuals having several mental conditions are not likely to engage in criminal behavior compared to the general population. In this regard, Monahan and his affiliate argue that violence among mentally unstable people is a factor of antisocial behavior which comes due to societal imbalances which both the mentally disadvantaged and the unaffected population both share. As highlighted in the article, mental disorders are not to blame for criminality but due to the changing public perception as well as growing body of research on the subject, Monahan to redact his opinions in his 1992 publication. In this regard, a study was conducted whose findings showed that there is a correlation between bipolar disorder and the risk of committing violence among these individuals (Monahan, 1992). In addition, for bipolar individuals having maniac episodes, they become aggressive and may turn to be violent towards other people; however, the degree of violence increases due to drug dependency as well as failure to use medications. Additionally, the study claims that mental disorder is a consistent though a low risk factor for the chances of violence among these individuals. Therefore, according to this study, disproving that mental disorders and crime are correlated is a misleading. As a result this study illustrates that though bipolar individuals are not prone to engaging in violence, and despite the positive link between bipolar disorder and violence, this is not a proper reason to conclude that the violence itself is the causal factor; there are other unrelated factors that are likely to increase chances of violence among these people.

Conclusions

The link between violence and bipolar disorder has attracted its own share of proponents and disbelievers. In this regard, there is considerable evidence for the negative and positive side of this relationship and it is not been possible to consider all the aspects in this document. As highlighted above, several studies as well as debates have alluded that violence among individuals suffering from bipolar disorder emanates from the patient's illness (Feldmann, 2001). Nonetheless, several researches have also upheld that bipolar patients are not known to commit violence. Therefore, data on the possibility of violence among these individuals remains inconclusive whether violence is due to the disorder or, there other external factors that have a role in violence risk among these individuals. As a result, this paper presents other factors that are likely to impact the likelihood of committing violence among these individuals but are not highlighted in the main body of the article.

The first factor likely to increase the possibility of committing crime among bipolar individuals is a past history of violent activities. According to this hypothesis, persons who have been involved in past criminal acts and have been convicted for violence are prone to engage in violent behavior again. Present researches argue that this factor is the best predictor of the possibility of these individuals engaging in criminal activities in the future. However, the only limitation of this idea is that it is impossible to explain whether the past violent activities were due to bipolar disorder symptoms or other unrelated factors.

The next major issue is the effect of drug dependency. In this situation, studies argue that patients who have undergone dual diagnoses are more likely to become increasingly violent compared to other patients with other psychological disorders. To curb this situation, it is recommended that prior to making conclusions regarding the link between violence and bipolar disorder; patients should undergo rigorous assessments concerning drug dependency history as well as the symptoms of their disorder. This evaluation is supported since it helps understand the extent to which drug abuse impacts bipolar individuals since drugs are known to impair rationality as well as increase individual misconceptions. However, drug abuse may bring about symptoms such as paranoia as well as hostility and may be used to hide other risk factors for violence. As an example, a study of 1,410 participants having schizophrenia under the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness study, reported that the risk of violence increased with elevated levels of drug abuse and dependency.

The last factor that should be considered when evaluating the extent of violence among these individuals is the nature of symptoms. In this scenario, there are some patients who may have occasions of fearful misbeliefs and unrealistic psychotic idea and are likely to become more violent as opposed to other patients; thus, all the patients should not be considered at risk of being violent just from observing a single individual. Therefore, for researchers, it is critical to understand the individual's belief of their unrealistic thoughts since this can help in gauging the time a patient may become violent.

From the above paragraphs, it is clear that bipolar individuals have a tendency of engaging in criminal activities with the degree dependent of other external factors. Despite the contradictory statements as well as studies, there remains some evidence that the risk of people with bipolar disorder committing violent acts is unrelated to their medical conditions. In this regard, this thesis claims that disease severity and drug dependency are some factors likely to encourage violent activities among people having bipolar disorder. Notwithstanding the point that bipolar individuals show greater likelihood of violence crime than non-bipolar individuals, the factors spreading crime remains the same for these two groups of individuals.

References

Belfrage, H. (1998). A ten-year follow-up of criminality in Stockholm mental patients. British Journal of Criminology, 38, 145-155.

Fazel, S., Lichtenstein, P., Grann, M., Goodwin, G.M., & Langstrom, N. (2010). Bipolar Disorder and Violent CrimeNew Evidence From Population-Based Longitudinal Studies and Systematic Review. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(9), 931-938.

Feldmann, T.B. (2001). Bipolar Disorder and Violence. Psychiatric Quarterly, 72(2), 119-129.

Link, B.G., Monahan, J., Ann, S., & Cullen, F.T. (1999). Real in Their Consequences: A Sociological Approach to Understanding the Association between Psychotic Symptoms and Violence. American Sociological Review, 64(2), 316-332.

Modestin, J., Hugb, A., & Ammann, R. (1997). Criminal Behavior in Males with Affective Disorders. Journal of Affective Disorders, 42(1), 29-38.

Monahan, J. (1992). Mental Disorder and Violent Behavior: Perceptions and Evidence. American Psychologist, 47(4), 511-521.

Taylor, P.J. (2008). Psychosis and violence: stories, fears, and reality. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 53, 647-659.

Teplin, L.A., Abram, K.M., & McClelland, G.M. (1994). Does psychiatric disorder predict violent crime among released jail detainees? A six-year… [END OF PREVIEW]

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