Violent Behavior not Uncommon During First Psychotic Episode

A recent study published in the Schizophrenia Research journal reveals that a significant number of individuals experiencing their first psychotic episode engage in some type of violent behavior before they receive any treatment. This finding came from a systematic review and meta-analysis of data collected from 9 studies of over 2000 patients who had their first psychotic episode.

The researchers found that 34.5% of patients who had their first psychotic episode had committed some type of violence. Of those, 0.6% had engaged in a severe act of violence, and 16.6% had committed a serious violent act.

Severe violent acts were more likely to be committed by males who had less education. Other factors included involuntary treatment, hostile demeanor, a forensic history, manic symptoms, and drug use. Serious violent acts correlated with a forensic history, a longer period of untreated psychotic symptoms, and higher overall symptom scores.

After treatment had been initiated, the only factor that correlated with a severe act of violence was involuntary treatment.

It is important to note, however, that individuals with schizophrenia are less likely to engage in violent acts than the general population.

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