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Manic Symptoms Not Linked to Specific Criminal Acts

Why does the Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) misrepresent psychological research?

For instance, in its post on its website titled, “STUDY: Manic Symptoms Linked to Specific Criminal Acts,” the unattributed and undated article suggests that a new study was released that demonstrated a causal link between manic symptoms, and well, specific criminal acts.

But when I read the study, and compared it with what was in the article on the TAC website, I saw a complete misunderstanding (or misrepresentation, whether intentional or not) of the new study.

It now makes me question the validity of any information published by the Treatment Advocacy Center on their website, because it appears their bias — to drive home the mistaken idea that mental illness = increased risk of violence — affects their ability to even deliver research news objectively.

5 Comments to
Manic Symptoms Not Linked to Specific Criminal Acts

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  1. I think this was a great article. It highlights an observation I have noticed about mental health research in general. I am a system designer. In a conversation with a therapist once I said, “If we designed things with the same manor in which the mental health community tests its theories and drugs, planes would fall from the sky for unknown reasons, power plants would just blow up from time to time.” A couple of point I would like to add to the conversation here.

    I am going to offer that maybe DUI’s were left out because they are not crimes of aggression. In a way they are not even crimes of intent. Most people don’t leave intentionally to drive drunk. Where assaulting somebody, robbing a bank, or most other jailable offense doesn’t have that direct intent of breaking ethical boundaries.

    I do feel that often psychological research rejects the “chicken or the egg” principle. For instance, it as been accepted that bipolar people will often self medicate before seeking help (or being forced into it). Are they addicted to the drugs because they are bipolar, bipolar caused by the drug use, or are the two independent? In my favorite book on the topic, “I hate you. Don’t leave me..” the author says that parents who are emotionally absent due to drug and/ or alcohol abuse often is a factor in becoming bipolar. Same goes for sexual abuse. But we also know children of drug users (and abusers) are at greater risks of becoming so themselves. There are too many variables for the author of this article to make such a statement.

    Last I will offer a personal observation from my own experience. My ex and I lived together for 10 years with out so much as a raised voice argument. I have come to believe that she may have been bipolar all along. When I met her she exhibited many of the classic signs. Without knowing it, I did many of the recommendations made to spouses of bipolar personalities. We grew and she over that time stopped these trade mark behaviors. Once she was put on an SSRI and went manic, they all came rushing back. She started attacking me. Couldn’t stop going to the bar. Expressing thought of suicide and of wanting to “shake the baby”. It seemed like whatever thought entered her head she executed with out regard to consequence. Upon finding the forum “marriages destroyed by SSRI’s” the reports of this exact same change shortly after. Ironically the warnings about bipolar are included in every one of SSRI’s information.

  2. One perspective I would like to offer with the blurriness between mental health and antisocial personality these days: people with legitimate axis 1 disorders like mood disorders or psychosis run the risk of at least temporary impaired insight and judgment from their disorders, while, and this will probably get me in trouble with some readers but I feel should be said, antisocial individuals really have some insight and judgment abilities but actively choose NOT to use them responsibly.

    So, responsible assessment should include collateral reporting when someone is arrested and seems impaired with psychiatric symptoms. People in the defendant’s life who are responsibly and appropriately engaged for support and sympathy will tell it as it is. Manic people can have lousy insight and judgment, and when stable show better choices and decisions. You just can’t ask them themselves at the time of arrest what they are thinking. It is not saying they are absolved, but just maybe meeting the criteria of what is “not criminally responsible” at that time.

    One would hope getting arrested just once in the midst of psychiatric impairment would encourage being in treatment and working on acceptable interventions for a good period of time!

    • Joel, I have to tell you, that sounds good on paper. However, it doesn’t work that way. Included in that impaired judgment is often a lashing out against those that love and care for them. HIPAA can be the patient’s worst enemy at that point. Furthering my story, our relationship came to an end in an drunken, sexually charged to the point of insanity, rage, and violence. A series of events ended with the cops being called and me trying to keep my wife separated from my two yr old child in her state. The cops convinced me to let her into the house where she attacked me in front of them. She had never been violent. It came down to me, who was devastated, hurt, and angry my exes behaviors that I knew nothing more then they seem to have come out of nowhere, to be her court advocate. Her defense attorney recommended that she immediately file for divorce in order to put me into a financial pickle. Either I advocate having the charges dropped, or she goes to jail, looses her job, and I pay more in alimony and child support. (Because acts of drugs and violence is not a reason to assign custody to a father in my neck of the woods.) Ultimately, I did lobby to get the charges dropped. Not because of the underhanded legal angling, but because I loved the person I knew for the 10 yrs prior, and I love my daughter. The difficulty added to my ex’s life by going to jail for a violence charge would have transferred onto my daughter’s future as well. But let me tell you, that decision came with much resistance from my social circles, including my therapist, family, and own divorce attorney. Anybody else I have ever met would have sent her to jail. There is a good chance not doing so may have cost me custody of my daughter. (Anybody who thinks that the use of AD’s only affect the users should have never had to live with a person with a full blown 6 month long episode of mania.)

      So, when I finally started getting a handle on what had happened, I tried to contact her doctor, a GP. She wouldn’t talk to me. Her response? Upped the dosage of the AD and for the new found promiscuity issues, prescribed BC to a women who had never asked for them in the past. Yet this was not considered “abnormal behavior” enough to stop the use of the drugs. Likewise, as listed in the pamphlet, no contact was ever made to me to ask about any abnormal behavior. I would have had a story to tell long before it escalated out of control. Luckily, the only one who believed me was the prosecutor who said, “these things usually have a pattern. I don’t know you, the cops have never been called to your house, you guys don’t fit the pattern.” Very often prosecutors will push the charge even though the co-dependant abuse victims are begging them not to. Ultimately in court, she was given the ultimate reward for her bad behavior.

      • I respect your candor in discussing your experience. You do what you have to do. Every person is an individual and has to be resolved in that specific situation.

        My main beef is mental health is gray, yet, the court is often black and white. Which is why I avoid involvement in legal matters.

        Stay well and safe in your travels.

  3. You know Joel, one of the problems is that doctors are unwilling to get involved in the legal and policy matters. The fate of children are being decided by lawyers and politicians. Also, I feel a need to speak out. People are afraid to share their mental health experiences. (The courts condemn it.) If we all started talking openly and honestly about our experiences, it would be the greatest forward movement in humanity since the wheel. I am not holding my breath though. Thanks for your time and response. And peace to you too brother.



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