A recent study has been instrumental in demonstrating that treating substance abuse initially will prove successful in reducing patient violence. Those with disorders seem to have stronger recoveries when they are treated for their addictions first. This is because drug abuse appears to be the main motivating factor in violence. The link between violence, mental illness and substance abuse seems to be a significant one.
Studies show that otherwise, violence is not common in patients with disorders. Substance abuse is therefore a notable contributing factor in and of itself. This makes proper treatment of those with a dual diagnosis especially critical. These findings make sense in a criminal sense, as violence may break out due to drug dealings that go poorly or other such forms of retribution. Studies have also revealed findings that violent tendencies in a patient may continue long after drugs or alcohol have last been used.
Researchers may also examine the childhood of a patient in determining their susceptibility to such factors. Those with behavioral problems as children are often more likely to have violent tendencies in addition to certain mental illnesses. Of course, such later behavior may be caused by mistreatment as a child. In addition, other causes may be cognitive deficiencies or genotype as well.
Domestic violence is also often more commonly brought on by substance abuse or drinking. Studies have also been done on gender differences relating to schizophrenia and increased levels of violence. Men with schizophrenia are at increased risk for violence compared to men without the disorder. Women with schizophrenia have even greater odds of committing violent acts than those without schizophrenia. However, this may be attributed to the fact that women as a demographic are generally less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol overall. The belief that those with mental illness are always more predisposed to violence is not true however and needs to stop being presented as such.
If you know someone personally who has a disorder and a substance abuse problem, you may be concerned for your safety. For the best indicator, consider the past behavior of such a person, as this may often determine how they may act toward you in the future. However, if you do not know someone personally, you should not always jump to conclusions. The importance of reducing the stigma that all that are mentally ill are violent remains today.
Preventive measures should be taken in all patients to ensure that violence is minimized. Patients should be evaluated for their risk of violence regularly. Have plenty of staff members on hand to help diffuse a violent situation. By exhibiting a calm demeanor, you may be able to eventually encourage an irate patient to do the same. In extreme situations that show no sign of reaching a reasonable solution, contact law enforcement immediately.