Violence in Psychosis Linked to Drug Use


A ten-year research study recently published online in Schizophrenia Research finds that, although a schizophrenia diagnosis is associated with violent behavior, “At ten years following their initial contact with mental health services, psychotic patients are not more dangerous than the general population, as long as they are not using illegal drugs.”

Lengeveld, J., Bjørkly, S., Auestad, B., Barder, H., et al; Treatment and violent behavior in persons with first episode psychosis during a 10-year prospective follow-up study. Schizophrenia Research. Online May 14, 2014. DOI:

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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. It may be the case that schizophrenia is associated with increased violence (though several studies come to the opposite conclusion) however lots of things are also associated with schizophrenia such as unemployment, poverty, victimization, alcohol and drug abuse, isolation, etc., all of which factors are themselves associated with increased violence. Trying to draw a clear cause and effect relationship doesn’t seem to be an avenue worth pursuing. We’d be better off spending those research dollars on supported housing and humane, effective community care.

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    • Don’t forget that psychiatric practioners claim people might become “violent,” so the psychiatrists may cover up sexual abuse of little children, too.

      And, perhaps now that the research is in showing that the antipsychotics CAUSE the long run (and in a percentage of patients even short run) “schizophrenia” symptoms, maybe it’s time we stop force medicating people with these major tranquilizers? I’m quite certain we’d get rid of almost all “schizophrenia” if we did.

      The entire psychiatric industry strikes me as an enourmous waste of money, not to mention they’re disabling and killing millions of innocent victims.

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