Thursday, May 10, 2012

People With Schizophrenia More Likely to Be Victims, Not Perpetrators of Violence

Popular media typically invert the real message about violence and schizophrenia—which is that people with schizophrenia have a much higher risk of being the victim of violence, said Peter Buckley, M.D., at APA's 2012 annual meeting in Philadelphia in the presidential symposium titled “The Role of Psychiatrists in the Prevention of Violence at the Level of Nations, Communities, and Individuals.” Buckley is a professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Georgia. He was joined at the symposium by APA President John Oldham, M.D., Sue Bailey, M.D., and Dinesh Bhugra, Ph.D.

Buckley said that popular media—movies and television—more typically focus on the risk of violence committed by mentally ill individuals. But psychiatrists need to send the message that the greater risk is the other way around: that patients are more likely to be victims.

"It's a difficult message to send to the media,” Buckley said. “We need to be clear, and we cannot say there is not a high rate of violence among people with schizophrenia, but it is limited to a subgroup of people with active illness. This speaks to the importance of early access to care.”

Buckley spoke with Psychiatric News about his presentation. Watch the video.



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