Experts in the field of psychiatry said on Wednesday that those diagnosed with depression are three times more likely to commit violent crimes such as robbery, sexual assault offenses, and assault on others than those who do not suffer from it.
However, scientists confirmed – in a study based on a comparison of the cases of 47 thousand people – that in most cases of depression, patients should not be labeled as criminals or as prone to violence.
Sina Fadel, who supervised the study at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford, said: “One of the most important results is that the vast majority of depressed patients are not convicted of violent crimes, and that the rates…are below those of schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis, and are also much lower than alcohol or drug addiction.” “.
350 million people in the world suffer from depression, and treatment usually includes either drug therapy, psychiatry, or both.
Andrea Cipriani, a clinical researcher and consultant psychiatrist at Oxford who was not directly involved in this study, said that the results showed how important it was to talk directly to depressed patients about how violent thoughts and behavior could be part of their illness.
He explained to reporters, “What makes patients comfortable talking about what they are suffering from is that they are relieved when they know that there is a way out and that the disease is treatable.”
Fadel’s team – whose study results were published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal – followed the medical records and criminal records of 47,158 people in Sweden who were diagnosed with depression, and compared the cases with 898,454 people who did not suffer from it, taking into account age and gender factors.
Over an average period of three years, they found that depressed patients had a greater risk of harming themselves and others.
When the research focused on other factors such as a prior history of violence, self-harm, mental illness, or physical damage – all of which increase violence – they found a lower – but greater – risk of violent crime among depressed patients.