Violent Crimes Unusual Among Schizophrenics

Jared Loughner, the accused shooter in the Tuscon, AZ, incident that killed six and injured U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, has been moved to the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, MO. He will be evaluated in the next month by psychiatrists and other medical staff to determine whether he’s mentally able to stand trial. The examiners will be looking both for mental illnesses and for damage or abnormalities in brain structure. Media coverage has included suggestions that Loughner suffers from schizophrenia or another form of psychosis, but this has yet to be determined.

While it is not unusual to read media reports that link schizophrenia with violent crime, in reality people with schizophrenia are not particularly prone to violent behavior. Violence by schizophrenics may be well-publicized, but most people with the illness do not commit violent crimes. Those that do most often have other contributing factors, such as drug abuse or a history of violent crimes that took place before they became schizophrenic.

The evaluations of Jared Loughner are scheduled to be complete by April 29, and only then will we know whether he is one of the few schizophrenics who have committed a violent crime against strangers.

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/fitness/article_043aa2...

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