Persons with schizophrenia (especially those who have paranoid delusions) are often depicted in the media as being overtly violent and dangerous. While it is true that some persons with this disorder have committed violent acts, the vast majority of the over 2.2 million Americans with this disorder are in fact not violent. In truth, we tend to be withdrawn and avoid overly stressful situations (like violent confrontation) at almost any cost.
- Most persons who commit violent crimes do not have schizophrenia; most persons with schizophrenia do not commit violent crimes.
- As mentioned above, we tend just to want to be left alone. Because of our passive nature, we are more often the victims of violent crimes than the perpetrators of such. Quite possibly because of our lack of social power and prestige and due to our resistance or ability to report crimes against us, reports of violent acts against us go unreported or underreported.
- When we do act upon our violent fantasies, that violence usually takes place at home and is most often directed at family members and/or friends.
- There are three predictors of violence: a history of violent behavior; substance abuse; and noncompliance with medication (not taking one’s medication). The first two of these three are the strongest predictors. These predictors hold true for the general population as well as for those who suffer from schizophrenia.
- As a group, we are much more likely to commit a violent act upon ourselves (suicide) than upon others.