Thursday, August 18, 2016

Terrorism and mental disorder

Recently, some cases of the terror attack were reported again and again. In some cases, it is suspected that the offender had some mental disorders. If the media reports as so, discussion about forensic mental health is often ignited.

This tendency is the same regardless of nations. In Japan, immediately after a mass murder case at Sagamihara was reported, the government was requested to reconsider official involuntary hospitalization scheme in Japan, despite this case is neither a typical terror attack.

My past entry: Mass murder case of challenged people in Sagamihara, Japan

Indeed, most of the terrorism is unlikely to be relevant to mental disorders. Therefore, preventing terror attack with enhanced mental health care is unfeasible.

International Business Times: Terrorism is not a symptom of mental illness

To begin with, the terrorist organization includes few members with mental disorders, according to this article. Thus, most of the terror attacks conducted by an organization are not relevant to mental disorders.

In this article above, it is said that terrorist groups are likely to reject people with mental disorders for some reasons. I was a little surprised to know this fact. I had guessed some cult groups were willing to recruit patients as a group member because they are likely to be controlled by a charismatic leader. Actually, I heard from some patients to have been invited to such a group.

On the other hand, there are many cases committed by a lone-wolf culprit who had some mental disorders. Some of them have delusions regarding political issue. Hinckley in the US and Breivik in Norway were suspected to have mental illnesses. There is a case series in which attempted attacks of a prominent person of public status by a person in the US were investigated. The result suggests that 43% of the attackers were at delusional mental state at the time of the principal incident. This proportion is far higher than that of mentally disordered offenders in all crimes, not to mention about the prevalence rate of mental disorders.

Pubmed: Assassination in the United States: an operational study of recent assassins, attackers, and near-lethal approachers.

Considering the wide range of definition of mental disorders, the issue becomes more complex. Most of the offenders may be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). This diagnosis is defined mainly from explicit behavioral tendencies. If provocation, attitudes against authorities, deceiving others, and reckless acts are frequently observed, you can be diagnosed as ASPD. I think Han-Solo, in Star Wars, meets the criteria of ASPD. But what does it means? Many criminals have ASPD, but there is no standard treatment strategy established for ASPD.

In some cases by mentally disordered offenders, the incident is attributed to his psychiatric symptoms. In most of such cases, the victims are family members, at least in Japan. Thus, supporting family bond and adequate care for the patients in advance, as well as collaboration with police, can prevent many tragedies. It is certain that terrorism should be considered as different from public mental health care.

My past entry: Mental health and public safety

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing; this is such wonderful information. Keep up the good work guys!

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