Depression And Mental Illness (Crime)

Depression and Mental Illness: Crime or Violence/ Treatment or Punishment ABSTRACT Statement of the Problem According to Michael D. Yapko, PhD,(1997) "in every way, depression is a growing problem. Rates of depression have steadily climbed over the last 50 years and are significantly higher in those born after 1954 than in those born before. In addition, the average age of on-set depressive episode is steadily decreasing it is now mid-20s whereas it once was mid-30s. Cross-cultural data show that the United States has a higher rate of depression and mental illness than almost any other country, and that as Asian countries Westernize their rates of depression increase correspondingly."(p.37) And according to the Illinois State Police, (1999), "one of seven depressed people will commit an act of violence against themselves or others." (p.1) The purpose of this paper is to view and discuss depression and mental illness risk factors associated with violence. This paper will view some of the characteristics and violent behavior risk factors associated with a depressed or mentally ill person. It will also, compare characteristic that characterize a person suffering form depression or a person that is mentally ill. This paper will discuss treatment or punishment debated concerning depression and mental illness in the justice system. Existing studies will be used to help in the study of depression and mental illness from different sources. Depression and Violence Depression, according to Webster (1988), is a psychotic condition marked by an inability to concentrate and feelings of dejection and quilt."(p.364) Depression is most commonly treatable with counseling, but what happens when counseling fail? Although our current mental health system is not perfect it has been able to bring us where we are today. The current methods have benefited many individuals when going through crisis then stabilizing individuals to the point that they can function in society. So what happens when the benefits are not reaped? These individuals could go through psychotic change. Thomas Hudson stated (1978), "the mind has a dual character, which he described as the subjective mind and the objective mind. The objective mind takes cognizance of the objective world. Its media of observation are the five senses. It is the out growth of manís physical necessities. It is his guide in his struggles with his material environment. Its highest function is that of reasoning. The subjective mind takes cognizance of its environment by means independent of the physical senses. It perceive by intuition. It is the seat of the emotion and the storehouse of memory. It performs its highest function when the objective sense are in abeyance.(p.1) Its when the subjective mind usurps complete control, the individual goes psychotic."(p.2) When these individuals enter the psychotic state, studies have shown there can be some risk factor for criminal behavior, but none with solid evidence. Most individuals with depression are said to have violent behavior and violent hostilities, but none proven to show any criminal tendencies. A new study according to Jiri Modestin and colleagues ,(1997), studied 261 male patients who had been hospitalized at least once at a psychiatric facility, found no link between depression and crimes. He stated, "depression is strongly linked to increased hostility and to "anger attacks", inappropriate angry outburst associated with sweating, flushing, abnormal heart rhythms and "out of control" feeling."(p.6) The results of Modestin study doesnít reveal any criminal factors, just an individual needing help. Because the depression has already eroded the personís ability to perceive reality, this combination of conditions can increase the risk of violence. Some individuals under these condition felt threatened first before attacks or uncontrolled anger outburst. They did not perceive themselves to be more threatening or hostile to others, no more so, than any other affective disorder individual. Usually these individuals are more hostile or violent to the people or persons close to them. According to K. Taridiff, (1984), "people with severe depression are often dependent on family for care. Within the family, the person most involved in the depressed personís care usually the mother is most at risk, with violent person usually being a son or spouse. One study of patients admitted to psychiatric hospitals found that, among those who had attacked people during the time close to their admission, 65 percent of the sample had