Essay: The connection between schizophrenia and crime

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  • Subject area(s): Psychology essays
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  • Published on: July 15, 2019
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  • The connection between schizophrenia and crime
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Introduction

Recently, researchers have been keen understanding the relationship between Schizophrenia, substance abuses, and violent criminal behavior. According to the majority of these latest research studies, suicide is one of the most common criminal activity associated with Schizophrenia. History of past violence is another common predictor of violent crime associated with Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia patients with a rich history of violence are likely to commit crimes such as rape and murder. Schizophrenia patient is also highly likely to engage in substance and alcohol abuse. They abuse drugs and misuse alcohol because of the mental illness that affects their ability to think and reason accurately. This means that the more the patient engages in drug and alcohol abuse, the higher the chances of committing crimes. Furthermore, it is imperative to note that Schizophrenia patient’s failure to take medication increases their chances of engaging in crime. This is mainly because, without medication, the symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions worsens. The cognitive ability of the patient is also adversely affected. As a result, they are likely to make ineffective decisions like engaging in criminal activities. The purpose of this essay is to explore the connection between Schizophrenia and Crime.

The Connection between Schizophrenia and Crime

According to an Australian study, Schizophrenia patient is three times likely to commit crimes as compared to an individual who is not suffering from any mental illness. Secondly, approximately 8.2% of Schizophrenia patients have been convicted of violent crimes. The main reason for the cognition between Schizophrenia and crime is that the disorder adversely affects the individual’s cognition (Keers et al. 2014). In normal circumstances, Schizophrenia patient acts like a normal person. However, if the disorder is not treated early, it can have tremendous implications for the patient’s life.

Schizophrenia adversely affects the patient’s cognitive ability. One of the most common symptoms of Schizophrenia is a dysfunctional way of thinking. In most cases, Schizophrenia patients are considered to be with ineffective executive functioning. In such situations, the patient has difficulty comprehending the information they are presented. As a result, they make ineffective decisions due to poor interpretation of such information. The patient’s memory is also adversely affected (Rund, 2018). This means that they are easy to forget. Schizophrenia patients also encounter challenges pay attention. For instance, when they are told that criminal activities attract punishment, they easily forget. Even if they are warned, they easily engage in criminal activities without their wish. Thus, to avoid such situations, it is imperative to encourage Schizophrenia to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Cognitive impairment as a result of the disorder can affect various aspects of the patient’s life. In most cases, Schizophrenia patients are unable to engage in normal daily activities. Some of them withdraw from the society. This is mainly because they are unable to relate and interact with others including family and friends. Thus, when faced with challenges, most of them will resort to violence and criminal activities. Lack of effective communication skills affects their ability to express themselves (Keers et al. 2014). Therefore, if untreated, they will end up engaging in criminal activities such as suicide.

Moreover, Schizophrenia patients are unable to engage in intellectual activities and tasks. Instead of reading a book, such a patient often glares on the pages without reading or concentrating. When watching, they can glare on the screen without following or understanding what is going on at all. Their ability to perceive instructions is also affected. For instance, if they are taught to be discipline, they will forget and still engage in undesirable behaviors (Fleischman et al., 2014). This is so because the disorder affects the patient’s short memory, concentration, and executive function.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The connection between Schizophrenia and crime can be disconnected by diagnosing and treating the affected patients. One of the best ways of diagnosing Schizophrenia is through a physical exam. The physical exam is mainly conducted to rule out symptoms that are not associated with Schizophrenia. Physical exam also enables the doctors to check for any other health complications that could be affecting the patient. Secondly, there are various tests and screenings that have been recommended for the diagnosis of Schizophrenia (Rund, 2018). Tests are mainly aimed at ruling out the causes of similar symptoms of Schizophrenia. On the other hand, screenings are meant to check on issues such as substance and alcohol abuse.

Furthermore, it is imperative to note that psychiatric evaluation plays a crucial role in diagnosing Schizophrenia. This is the process in which a mental health profession checks on the mental status of the patient. The most common issues that are checked include the potential for violence and crime, hallucinations, suicide, and substance abuse. The health professional can also use such opportunity to discuss the family and history of the patient (Fleischman et al., 2018). Psychiatric evaluation reveals a lot regarding the connection between Schizophrenia and crime.

In the case of treatment of Schizophrenia, antipsychotics are the most recommended medications. The primary objective of antipsychotic is to control the symptoms of this disorder by influencing the brain functioning. In essence, these medicines are focused on lowering the signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia (Silverstein et al., 2015). Antianxiety drugs and anti-depressants can also be used to treat the disorder. However, to effectively delink the connection between Schizophrenia and crime, it is vital to use psychosocial interventions.

One of the most commonly preferred psychosocial intervention is individual therapy. One of the primary objectives of this therapy is to help the patient to cope with the stress associated with the disorder. The patient is also empowered to learn about the disorder’s warning signs. In such situations, they are better placed to manage the disorder at individual levels (Silverstein et al., 2015). This means that crimes such as suicide and potential crimes are minimized. The second intervention is social skills training. The primary objective of this therapy is to improve the social skills of the patient. This means that the patient will be better placed to express themselves to friends and family (Rund, 2018). When they are stressed up, they can be easily assisted. In such situations, the potential of them engaging in violence or criminal activities are considerably reduced.

Finally, family therapies can play a crucial role in supporting Schizophrenia patients. For instance, family therapy is meant to promote and support the family of the patient. When the patient’s family is supported, stress and other symptoms are likely to be reduced. In the long run, the patient will be unlikely to easily engage in criminal activities (Fleischman et al., 2018). Lastly, vocational rehabilitation and supported employment can positively change the lives of Schizophrenia patients. Empowering these patients to a point where they have jobs to support themselves and their families reduces the chances of them engaging in crime and violence.

Conclusion
In conclusion, it is concise that Schizophrenia and Crime are interconnected. The primary reason for this relationship is that Schizophrenia affects the patient’s cognition. This means that the memory, attention, and executive function of the patient are adversely affected. Due to poor reasoning and thinking, the patient is likely to engage in violence and criminal activities such as suicide. However, to eradicate this situation, Schizophrenia must be diagnosed and treated. The most effective diagnosis approaches include a physical exam, tests and screening, and psychiatric evaluation. On the other hand, psychosocial interventions such as individual and family therapy plays a central role in delinking the patient from crime.

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