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Substance abuse problems played a major role in encouraging people with schizophrenia to commit violent crimes

Substance abuse problems and mental disorders are never a good mix. This was emphasized in a new study where researchers found that substance abuse problems played a major role in encouraging people with schizophrenia to commit violent crimes.

A lot of researchers have already examined the relations ships between violence and major mental disorders, including schizophrenia. Majority of these past research studies reported that schizophrenia usually causes up to up to six fold increased risk of violence. According to the researchers of the current study, this increased risk is what led many to view that schizophrenia is a preventable cause of violent crimes and violence in general. Some studies also suggest that substance abuse problems may have a role in association between the violence and mental disorders.

For the current study, Dr. Seena Faze of the University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital and colleagues looked into the association between schizophrenia and violent crime and the potential role of substance abuse problems. The team used data from Swedish hospital admission records and criminal conviction files from 1973-2006. They compared the risk of violence and violent crimes among patients with schizophrenia with the risk of the violence and violent crime among the general population. The researchers also measured possible mediators like substance abuse and potential confounders such age, sex, marital status, and income. Another factor that was investigated by the researchers was the risk of violence and violent crimes among healthy siblings of people with schizophrenia.

The researchers discovered that 13.2 percent of patients with schizophrenia had at least one violent offense  to their name compared with the only 5.3 percent of the general population with criminal offenses. They also found that the rate of violence and violent crime was higher among patients with schizophrenia who also used drugs compared to those who did not.

“We demonstrate that the risk of violent crime in schizophrenia in patients without co-morbid substance abuse is only slightly increased. In contrast, the risk is substantially increased among patients with co-morbidity and suggests that current practice for violence risk assessment and management in schizophrenia may need review,” the researchers explained in conclusion.

Mental abuse problems are in themselves a handful to deal with and coupled with substance abuse problems, they are downright problematic. Miramar Recovery Center is an exclusive drug addiction treatment center where you can get help for both your substance abuse problems and co-occurring mental disorders. Call us up for more information.