Some people say that mental illness causes violence. However, the reality is that violence, aggression, mayhem and murder are not caused specifically by mental illness. We seem to have become too obsessed with cause and effect modalities, and this is leading us to not look at the bigger picture anymore. Let’s take a look at some important points.
Considerations for Violence and Mental Illness
- As Americans, we are constantly bombarded by images of the mentally ill causing violence in the news, movies, games and other stories. We are being told to fear random, senseless violence, caused by the mentally ill. By contrast, we understand crimes with motives, such as robberies, and fear them much less.
- A survey in Germany showed that, every time someone sees a publicized crime, they become further removed socially from the mentally ill. They also find people with mental illnesses more dangers and unpredictable.
- When a killer has a mental illness, people assume that it is this mental illness that causes the murder. In reality, however, there may be far deeper issues at play.
- We have become conditioned to fear the psychotic, with the word ‘psychotic’ often used to describe killers. We associate psychosis with violence immediately. In reality, violence is caused by various emotions that all need addressing.
- The biggest reason for people becoming violent has been proven to be substance abuse. And this is not just class A drugs and alcohol, but the many prescription drugs that people obtain completely legally and are told to take to improve their lives. A huge variety of prescription medication actually cause significant mental illness. This is why people should be encouraged to access an Orange County counselor instead of immediately taking drugs.
- Did you know that the Adverse Events Reporting System of the Food and Drugs Administration stated that there were some 12,755 incidents of violence caused by psychotic medication between 2004 and 2011? This included 7,250 aggressive incidents, 359 homicides, 9,310 suicides and 2,795 manic episodes. And that is data from reported incidents only.
- The media is not qualified to link mental illness to crime. When they have headlines stating ‘psychotic killers’, they actually have no idea what they are talking about. Perhaps the victim was also psychotic. Perhaps the killer wasn’t psychotic at all but suffered from diabetes instead. They falsely represent mental illness and are doing untold damage.
- Everybody thinks they are a psychologist now. Qualified psychologists have become popularized and have started their own TV shows, where they resolve significant mental health issues in as little as an hour, leading everyday people to think they can do the same. Sure, psychology has come a long way, but it still takes a lot of studying to grasp the discipline and it takes a whole lot longer to help someone than what television shows would like us to believe.
- Sigmund Freud determine that 90% of suicides are the direct result of a clinical depression (a mental illness), whereby people turn their anger onto themselves. At the same time, however, not all suicides are committed by people with depression.