Mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder alone do not make people more violent, but the tendency of people with psychiatric problems to abuse drugs or alcohol does, scientists said on Monday.
Experts have long sought to understand the link between mental illness and violence and these findings suggest that the widespread public perception that psychiatric disorders alone make people more prone to violent crime is flawed.
Researchers from Britain and Sweden who studied rates of violent crime among people with severe mental disorders said it appeared that the higher risk of substance abuse is the key.
They found that while rates of violent crime are higher among people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia than in the general population, they are similar in people with mental illness and those who abuse substances but are not mentally ill.
Reported by Kate Kelland
Submitted by Anna