I also added my suspicion that these statistics were wrong, in ways that I was not equipped to explain.
This morning in the Wall Street Journal a forensic psychiatrist from Oxford, Dr. Seena Fazel offers an update on the best studies. It turns out that schizophrenics really are more likely to commit violent acts than other individuals. Link here.
In Dr. Fazel’s words: “We now know that there is an increased risk of violence in individuals suffering from severe mental illness. This conclusion has been confirmed by large-scale historical studies drawing on routinely collected national data in Sweden, Denmark, Australia and Finland. These have consistently found an increased risk of violence in individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and some forms of severe brain injury.”
And also: “The most recent systematic review on this subject, published in the journal PLoS Medicine in 2009 and involving over 18,000 subjects in 11 countries, found that individuals with schizophrenia were more likely, as compared to the general public, to commit acts of violence, regardless of how violence was measured. This increase was typically two to five times higher in men with schizophrenia and over four-fold higher in women with schizophrenia. As one expert commented, clinicians have to face up to this ‘unpalatable‘ evidence ‘for the sake of our patients.’ A similar review on bipolar disorder and violence from 2010 found similar increases in risk.”
Dr. Fazel adds that the correlation between psychosis and violence may also be caused by other contributing factors, like drug abuse.
Still and all, when supposedly reputable scientists explain to us that schizophrenics are no more likely to commit acts of violence than anyone else, they have either gotten the facts wrong or are consciously dissembling.
I cannot begin to probe why they might do so, but they might be using the false information to support their campaign against the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill.