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Correlation between Mental Illness and Crime-I


In this modern world one still can’t talk about being mentally unfit. The notion created by society that if a person is mentally unfit, he or she is mad/ unsound/ insane which might not be the case every time. If there is a mental problem the reaction to it starts with a physical inability to perform the task which earlier were being performed. Mental illness is a psychological effect that was generated in a person either at the time of being born or due to some bad circumstance. If one’s mental condition is not good his social well-being gets affected too. The current topic discuss about subjective well-being and self-efficacy, whereby understand oneself; adjust to the societal norms and to be psychologically healthy. It is a kind of problem which not restricted only to individual having mental illness but affects the whole society.

As per most of the researcher at base neurotic disorder have lower symptoms than personality disorder, whereby both have similar kind of mental illness symptoms but at different level. When the person has higher symptoms of personality disorder, he tends to act differently in society, which may or may not be accepted, e.g. when a liquor addicted person does an act which he seem to be correct, unintentionally harms the society, creating an image of an offender in return leading to criminal act (MOSTLY VIOLENT).

What is Mental Health?

Definition by WHO[i]:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” As per the researcher mental health is just more than the absence of mental health disorder, inclusion of productive social, school, office, care-giving activities, healthy relationships and aptitude to adapt to change and cope with adversity.

What is included in poor mental health?

1.      Rapid social change,

2.      Stressful work condition,

3.      Gender biasness,

4.      Societal exclusion,

5.      Unhealthy lifestyle,

6.      Physical illness,

7.      Sexual or human right violence.

Mental Disorder or Mental Illness

As per some researcher mental disorder and mental illness are used as substitute of each other in reference to psychopathology. According to American Psychiatric Association[ii]Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behaviour (or a combination of these).’ Mental illnesses are allied with stress or/and problems functioning in society, work or family activities. It has some forms which may vary from mild (certain phobias) to high intensity such as mental health disorder which are stated as follows:

Psychotic Disorder and Crime

Psychotic disorder or psychosis is a condition which affects one’s brain to process information in very different manner. One might hear, see, believe and feel things which are reel. Many researchers believe that psychotic disorders are symptom, not an illness. Every psychotic disorder affects the person in different age group. Hence, psychosis is a critical mental disorder in which opinion and emotions are so impaired that contacts are lost with external real world.

The following are three phases of psychotic disorder[iii]: Prodrome Phase, Acute Phase and Recovery Phase.


It might not be possible that every person would experience clear symptoms of all 3 phases.

1.      Prodrome: At this period the person starts to experience changes in themselves, however haven’t yet started experiencing clear-cut symptoms of psychosis. The symptoms may vary from person to person but the phase would last from several months to a year or more may be at pre-diagnostic stage.

2.      Acute: during this stage the symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations, delusions and disorganised behaviour and language are emerged and which can be clearly seen.

3.      Recovery: after starting the treatment within few months people start to recover. Sometimes it starts with decrease in the intensity of symptoms. However, some symptoms of acute stage might linger.

When a person is in the phase of Prodrome, there might be some of the circumstances where he begins being neglected by the society at a very minor stage such as from the family or the peer (in case the family conditions are poor), however without any kind of guidance to get cured the symptoms of the psychosis disorder gets worst to acute where the person doesn’t have any tangible feeling. Whereby most of unwanted reel thoughts and opinions seems to be tangible to him and tries to act on such thoughts which in return lead to an act which are u/d definition of criminal act from the societal point. However for the person who is suffering from psychosis in Acute phase didn’t have any idea whether or not it is correct or wrong as it is hard for him to make good judgement.

The major psychotic disorders are as follows:

1.      Mood Disorders

2.      Schizophrenia

3.      Substance Abuse and Crime

4.      Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mood Disorder

The two moods involved i.e. Mania- characterised by intense and irrational feelings of excitement and ecstasy. Depression- characterised by bizarre sadness and dejection. It may not be necessary that all the people experience both at same time.

Manic symptoms- Significant impairment of occupational and social functioning; Manic episode- Elevated, euphoria, and expansion mood, often interrupted by occasional outbursts of irritability or even violence.

The people who experience the mixed episode of both mania and depression such as recurrent disorder, even single episode, and impairment in occupational and interpersonal skills such symptoms lead to bipolar mood disorder.

Feature of Bipolar Mood Disorder:

          Oversleeping and overeating in the depressed phase

          High rate of psychomotor retardation

          Flight of Ideas.


          High level of verbal out speech or in writing and severely decreased need for sleep may also occur

          Delusional where person harbours feelings of enormous grandeur and power

          Personal and cultural inhibition

          Foolish venture

          Sexual Indiscretion

          Having suicidal thoughts

          Inflated self-esteem.


The concept was introduced by Swiss Psychiatrist Eugen Bleulerin the year 1911. He defined schizophrenia as split mind, a condition characterized primarily by disorganization of thought process, lack of coherence between opinion and emotion and inward orientation split-off from realism to the extent that the affected person is no longer able to perform and act customary societal roles in an adequate trend. It generally affects the age group of 20 to 30 years, it is also seen 5 years earlier in men than in women.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia[v]:

1.      Hallucination


2.      Delusion


3.      Problem in expressing feeling and speech

Image result for images on catatonic schizophrenia

4.      Thought Disorder



5.      Unsorted behaviour and disorganised speech

Disorganised speech and behaviour.jpg

As per a study published on 18 Feb, 2000 of The Lancet[vi], identifies that schizophrenic patient are generally not responsible for rising crime rates, as there is increase in education as well as steps taken by the government to take the crime in control by organising camps, stating hospitals only for these kind of mental illness. But these schizophrenic patients were involved in the guilty crimes in late 90’s, whereby by after certain increase and steps they were transferred to mental hospitals, who have committed crime more than once. However, in beginning changes in the model of mental health services, with the shift to community care, there were not marked by any significant changes in relative rates of conviction for those first times admitted to hospital with schizophrenia symptoms.

[i] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-health-strengthening-our-response

[ii] https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness

[iii] https://www.earlypsychosis.ca/phases-of-psychosis/

[iv] https://www.earlypsychosis.ca/bluepixeldesign/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/phases2.png

[v] https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-symptoms

[vi] https://www.webmd.com/schizophrenia/news/20000218/moving-schizophrenics-into-the-community-does-not-increase-crime

Authored By: Kaushal P. Modi

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