Bipolar and Violence, Part 2

On 2/24 I found a very interesting article – Temper Tantrums, Mental disorder, and DSM-5: The Case for Caution – and posted it. Since I know two other people with with bipolar who are not violent in any way (neither am I), I wanted to do a bit more digging and see what other recent studies are out there linking BP and violence.

But first, the required disclaimer: By no means is this post meant to represent an exhaustive list of every study out there – this is a random sampling of what someone with some spare time was able to uncover with the use of two Internet search engines.

The most recent study I could find was published first in September 2010:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20819987

Fazel S, Lichtenstein P, Grann M, Goodwin GM, Långström N.

Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford, Warneford Hospital, England. seena.fazel@psych.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

CONTEXT: Although bipolar disorder is associated with various adverse health outcomes, the relationship with violent crime is uncertain.

CONCLUSION: Although current guidelines for the management of individuals with bipolar disorder do not recommend routine risk assessment for violence, this assertion may need review in patients with comorbid substance abuse.

Then, a retraction of sorts citing inadequacies in the study was published in the Vol. 67 No. 12, December 2010 of Archives of General Psychiatry. The article did not have an abstract & there was a fee associated with viewing it in its entirety, but here is the link to a blurb:

http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/extract/67/12/1325

And, another study. I am unclear whether this Swedish study is related to the British study above…there was one source citing all the researchers for both studies in one place.

http://www.physorg.com/news203076591.html

Risk of violent crimes not increased with bipolar disorder

September 7, 2010

A new study from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet suggests that bipolar disorder – or manic-depressive disorder – does not increase the risk of committing violent crime. Instead, the over-representation of individuals with bipolar disorder in violent crime statistics is almost entirely attributable to concurrent substance abuse.

Now, let’s throw gender into the issue. Here is a study published in 2005:

http://www.jaapl.org/cgi/content/full/33/2/188

Gender Differences in Criminality: Bipolar Disorder with Co-occurring Substance Abuse

Conclusion: The discrepancy noted between criminality in the general female population and women with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder with co-occurring substance abuse indicates the importance of these dual diagnoses in women. Effects of dual diagnosis bipolar disorder on criminality in women appears greater than the effects in men. Though these women still have lesser involvement in the legal system than do men, rates are much higher than their non-mentally ill counterparts.

So, the other studies I was able to find without much digging all addressed violence and bipolar disorder in the context of coexisting substance abuse. One statistic pronounced 48% of bipolar people have substance abuse issues. I’ll have to devote more time and see if I can find studies regarding violence and bipolar without the substance abuse factor.  If anyone has a link to contribute, please feel free to post in the comments section.  Stay tuned.

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