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Violent Behavior and Schizophrenia

People with Schizophrenia are about 4 times as likely as those in the general public to commit violent acts [ref, ref, ref]. However, the overall contribution of Schizophrenia to societal violence is small, accounting for less than 5% of all violent acts [ref].

One of the main factors that increases the risk of people with Schizophrenia acting violently is if they abuse substances such as drugs or alcohol. One important study found that in the absence of a Substance Use Disorder, individuals with Schizophrenia tend not to be any more violent than other people [ref].

Other studies have found that people with Schizophrenia who commit acts of violence often do so when they are experiencing significant psychotic symptoms, especially delusions [ref, ref, ref]. Also, there are some individuals with Schizophrenia who seem to be violent by nature, meaning that they have had a tendency for acting violently that was apparent ever since childhood and well before their symptoms of Schizophrenia developed; not surprisingly, these individuals are also more likely to act violently in the future [ref, ref, ref].


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