People who have mental illness are no more likely to be violent than anyone else, but adding alcohol or drugs does increase the risk.
Those findings, reported today by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, add to a growing body of studies exploring whether aggression is linked to severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression.
Said Eric B. Elbogen, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor in forensic psychiatry at the UNC-CH School of Medicine:
“We found that several other factors – such as a history of past violence or substance abuse or a recent divorce or loss of one’s job – are much more predictive of future violence than mental illness alone. Only when a person has both mental illness and substance abuse at the same time does that person’s risk of future violence outweigh anyone else’s.”
Factors other than mental illness are more predictive of a person being violent. Youth, a history of physical abuse and unemployment are bigger contributors to violence than mental illness, the study's authors found.
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