Offending by Psychiatric Patients Is Rare
In recent years, the escalation of violence has become more heinous with each criminal act, and several of these mass killings have included innocent children. As usual, the mentally ill are suspected of the senseless murders that have been acted out by a psychotic brain from hallucinations, delusions, and projected hate. But how many people with mental illness are actually violent? And why are murder sprees and mass killings overwhelmingly male? Is our society handling mental illness as a community, or are we letting potentially dangerous people slip through the cracks of healthcare? Let’s explore the reasons for these senseless violent crimes, and what we may be able to do about it.
Societal Issues: People are Misinformed about Violence and Mental Illness
People who suffer with mental health issues are more likely to be the victim of a violent act than commit one. Schizophrenia, a mental illness that affects about one percent of the population, rarely contributes to violence, much less murder. TV and movies often depict the schizophrenic as a maniacal murderer that performs deadly rituals with bizarre behavior and evil. In reality, schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by hallucinations (visual disturbances), hearing internal voices that usually command the person to do something (auditory hallucinations), and delusions (an irrational perception that is believed), such as someone is out to harm them from outer space, or the FBI. However, mental illness complicates people's personalities, it does not distinguish it. If you are a non-violent person with empathy, the fact that you are mentally ill does not change that fact. People are who they are, despite their mental illness, limitations, or overall health.
Stigmatizing Mental Illness adds to the Disconnection of Reality and the Isolation from Society
It is estimated that 5% to 10% of murders are committed by people with mental illness. But the proportion of mass homicides are committed by the highest rates of mental illness in the population. Perhaps the people who are isolated by society, stigmatized for their mental issues, and isolated by family and friends become more affected by their illness which exacerbates a violent response. As will any illness, people without support have less of a chance of survival and live a lower quality of life.
Drug Induced Paranoia is Highly Responsible for Murders and Injuries
People who engage in substance abuse for long periods of time can become paranoid and suffer delusions of persecution. People who use cocaine, meth-amphetamines, alcohol, and other drugs may perform violent murders that they believed were justified by their hallucinations or delusions. Crack cocaine has been responsible for countless murders and deaths due to the inducement of paranoid behavior in the users. Although the media may state that these people were “psychotic” or have some type of “mental illness,” this is not always completely correct.While it can be argued that people with mental illness have higher substance abuse rates, it is also true that substance abuse can cause mental illness. Hence, the chicken or the egg.
Personality Disorders may be Deadly
Psychopaths make up approximately 20 percent of the prison population. Antisocial personality disorder defines a person who has no empathy for others, manipulates and exploits others for material gain or self satisfaction. Most people would agree that these psychopathic personalities are the most successful in murder and are usually involved in crime and many are career criminals. For instance, the Mafia, gangs, and people who murder for hire or profit. These personality disorders are not to be confused with mental illness or the legal definition of insanity. Mental illness may involve a person who experiences a break in reality, known as psychosis, but personality disorders rarely experience psychosis, and are fully aware of what they are doing is wrong and punishable by the law.
What do I do if a Family Member Acts Psychotic?
The law states that no one can be forced to take their medication or enter themselves into treatment for any kind of illness.Back in the 1970s, people who exhibited mental illness or simply exhibited eccentricities could be forced to take medication, be admitted to mental hospitals, or even undergo electric shock therapy (ECT). This was a flagrant violation of civil rights and people are now entitled under the Patient Rights act to refuse any kind of medical treatment.
What if they Threaten to Hurt Someone or Themselves?
If they are a danger to themselves or someone else, they may be held legally for observation for three days; then the insurance companies will begin to ride the backs of the psychiatrists to release the patient. If the patient states they are not suicidal or homicidal, they will be released with or without their medications. They can refuse to take them, that is the law. The problem is that the few that are potentially violent will slip through the cracks and may even hurt someone before they are helped, and then they will most likely be incarcerated.
I am Afraid of My Child and Don't Know Where to Turn
Many families are struggling with children that are violent and have the potential to hurt their parents and the people that love them. Read the true story of a mother that fears her teenage son, and how the system is failing her, her son, and our society. I am Adam Lanza's Mother
The Absolute Facts about Murder: What We Know is True
Over 90 Percent of the Murders in America are Committed by Male Offenders
The population of white males between ages 14 and 24 represent only 6 percent of the population, yet they commit almost 19 percent of the murders in America. For young Afro-American males that make up 1.2 percent of this population, this population accounts for 28 percent of all homicides. Together, these two groups of men make up a little over 7 percent of the population and are responsible for45 percent of the homicides committed every year.
80 Percent of Murdered Americans Each Year are Male
Is our society fostering the naturally aggressive nature of young men, or is the American culture lacking in an awareness and understanding of how to handle the potentially violent side of the male human? Why are other cultures, such as Japan, the United Kingdom, and Chile so low on the gun violence scale?
Rite of Passage and Social Restraint for Male Adolescents
If you examine countries with low rates of gun violence, it is obvious that they are more socially conscious and supportive of family and loved ones. Males, as well as females, must follow in their parents footsteps and are assured of a place in their community. Rites of passage dictate the behavior of the young boy becoming a man and how he must control his aggression and sexuality. This consciousness raising decreases stress, fear, and apprehension. Competition is decreased in a society that expects you to assume a role in your life, and not create a place in a society.
Is American Culture Less Conducive to Emotional Well-Being?
In America, you have the option of being free and a complete individual, but that may come with an emotional price. Competition, funds for education, and long periods of the starving student experience may place harsh stressors on people in the process of designing their American dream. This may explain the large amount of college students that experience various forms of mental illness for the first time in their lives. In addition, American societies tend to give the impression that the rite of passage for youngsters becoming adults is to be able to smoke, drink alcohol, and experience adult media and entertainment. This practice may increase the odds of male aggression and distract focus of a healthy life.
Gun Death Rate by Country
Untreated Mental Illness: The Double Edge Sword
In the 1980s, the Ronald Reagan administration disassembled mental healthcare and closed countless facilities that increased the homeless population dramatically and shifted the responsibility of the mentally ill to the states from the federal government. This change had released those who chose to live with mental illness on their own terms and freed them from laws that incarcerated and held them against their will. However, the administration did not focus on how to treat mental illness, and to this day, we are lacking greatly in understanding and improving the lives of people who suffer from mental illness.