Link Between Schizophrenia and Crime

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Do you ever wonder what is going on in someone’s head? Many wish they had the power to read other’s minds but know that in the least they can mostly understand themselves. This is a luxury most of the general population experiences, but not all of it. Schizophrenics never completely know what is happening within their own mind let alone their conscious and subconscious. This is because schizophrenics cannot often trust what they see or hear because of some symptoms of the mental illness such as hearing voices, hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, and cognitive issues (WebMD, 2017).

The Mayo Clinic defines schizophrenia as, a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally (2018). A schizophrenic brain distorts what a person sees, hears, believes, and how they express themselves. Essentially, a schizophrenic’s entire reality is warped. Some of the biological aspects of schizophrenia is that is lasts a lifetime and can be inherited genetically (Medoff, 2000). Often times, people with schizophrenia struggle with forming and maintaining relationships due to their condition. Additionally, the condition can make it difficult for schizophrenics to function properly within society. This can cause victims of the disorder to become withdrawn from society and suffer from the disease alone with very little to no help. Lack of resources or mental health education for individuals suffering from schizophrenia may result in negative outlets such as criminal behavior due to stigmas, social struggles, self-medication leading to substance abuse, unemployment, financial disarray, a lack of mental health training given to first responders, and prisons being used as fill-in mental institutions.

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A stigma is a mark of disgrace or infamy and a stigma that is associated with schizophrenia is that schizophrenics are dangerous and violent. Stigmas are an example of how schizophrenics will struggle socially within society due to the fact that schizophrenia is marked with such ugly stigmas due to a lack of education over the topic. While all stigmas have an ounce of truth to them, it is incorrect that all schizophrenics are violent. In a recent study by Swanson et al. (2006), the violence rate within 1,410 schizophrenia patients with two severity levels: minor and serious violence. It states that at the end if a six-month period there was in total a mere 19.1% reports of both levels of voice in total and serious violence was reported by 3.6% patients. This shows how few schizophrenics are actually violent and how it can be controlled therefore making the stigma untrue. Despite this, these negative attitudes remain and is one of the reasons why schizophrenics are unable to satisfy their social needs. Being seen as violent or dangerous makes it hard for them to create or maintain relationships with people knowing they have schizophrenia. This leads to increased anxiety, stress, sadness, and disassociation with others who view schizophrenia in theses ways which affects their life psychologically.

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