Violence in Psychosis: It’s the Anger


Researchers from England, in a study of 458 first episodes of psychosis, find that delusional beliefs coupled with elation, fear, anxiety are not associated with violence. Delusional beliefs in the context of depression are associated with less violence. “Anger due to delusions appeared to constitute the main drive to serious violence,” said the authors of the study, published in JAMA Psychiatry.

Abstract →

Coid, J., Ullrich, S., Kallis, C., et al; The Relationship Between Delusions and Violence
Findings From the East London First Episode Psychosis Study. JAMA Psychiatry, online March 6, 2013

Delusions, Anger and Violence (NY Times)
What Really Causes Violence in Psychosis? (Time)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. I’ld like to state something else obvious, the world runs on money. People are out to get money, maybe your money.
    “Anger due to delusions” could be anything.
    “A plan to seize up to 10 per cent of savings accounts in Cyprus to help pay for a €15.8 billion financial bailout was met with fury Monday,” CBC news Mar 18, 2013.
    So it did not happen, but it might have.

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  2. These scientific studies are so stupid. As if you could ever scientifically prove a nexus between violence and a belief. It’s absolute nonsense. They say anger “due to delusions”, but how can you possibly prove scientifically that someone is angry due to a delusion? It’s always the same with this ghastly profession. Anger doesn’t come from the indignities and the petty tyrannies of social existence, from oppression etc., it’s from a delusion, as if they had put this delusion under a microscope and observed “it” secreting anger like a liver secretes urine.

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  3. So you mean angry people are more likely to be violent than non-angry people? Who would have guessed?

    Reminds me of a study done years ago where they divided “ADHD” diagnosed kids into “hyperactive-aggressive” kids and “hyperactive-not aggressive” kids and followed them through adolescent. Shockingly, the “HA” kids were more likely to commit crimes than the average child, while the “HNA” kids were no more likely to commit crimes. So basically, they discovered that aggressive kids are more likely than non-aggressive kids to grow up into aggressive adolescents. It had nothing to do with “ADHD” diagnosis, but somehow they weren’t able to see the obviousness of their conclusion.


    —- Steve

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  4. Yes they neglected to pick a control group that would have tested a meaningful hypothesis. That is they should have compared “delusional” angry people with non-delusional angry people. Of course they would have had to avoid the confounding problem of psychiatric drugs which DO cause violence. At least they did not torture any animals for this silly study.

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    • Exactly! In actual point of fact, severely angry people tend to be a tad delusional anyway…

      Or maybe even better, we take violent non-delusional people and put them on neuroleptics, and see if they get MORE violent. Of course, that would be considered unethical, but somehow giving them to “delusional” people isn’t.

      It’s hard to be scientific when blinded by dogma, fear and incompetence. Though as a wise man once said, “Never attribute to ill will that which can easily be explained by stupidity.”

      —- Steve

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  5. I don’t buy that violence is due to the delusions. My anecdotal example is based on when my normally peace loving son drove his fist hard into a concrete wall. We were arguing,I was on his case about something and, rather than hit me, he chose to injure himself. I tie violence to high expressed emotion (negative energy) practiced by people who are in daily contact with the labelled person. High expressed emotion panics the person, aggravating the delusions, sure, but also escalating the understandable anger.

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    • Can there be a study on the obscene violence of psychiatrists perpetrated against their many victims throughout their sordid history as Robert Whitaker describes in MAD IN AMERICA and ANATOMY OF AN EPIDEMIC? It is well known that psychiatrists create a nasty, abusive, violent, oppressive, grossly dishonest type of culture with their flunkies who abuse the patients in horrific psych wards if they wish to keep their jobs as the latest SS thugs!

      The bottom line is that those in power are allowed to get away with murder never mind violence, but they do it in the guise of so called health, mental health, junk food passed off as nutrition, pollution, GMO and other Frankenfoods, fluoridation and other poisoning of our water supply, constant wars, violation of all human rights for the less powerful and other atrocities they commit constantly with their rampant abuse of power.

      I would say “Physician heal thyself,” but it would be an insult to a real doctor if any still exist that adhere to the Hippocratic Oath!!

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