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Taking cognizance of mental illness in schizophrenics and its association with crime and substance-related diagnoses

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Munkner R, Haastrup S, Jørgensen T, Andreasen AH, Kramp P. Taking cognizance of mental illness in schizophrenics and its association with crime and substance-related diagnoses.

Acta Psychiatr Scand 2003: 107: 111–117. © Blackwell Munksgaard 2003. Objective: 

To analyse how committed crimes and substance-related diagnoses are associated with the age on the first contact with the psychiatric hospital system and the age at diagnosing of schizophrenia among schizophrenics. Method: 

In a register-based study including all Danes diagnosed with schizophrenia born after November 1, 1963, data on criminality, substance-related diagnoses and contacts with the psychiatric hospital system were analysed. Results: 

Compared with the non-convicted schizophrenics the convicted were older on first contact with the psychiatric hospital system and older when the diagnosis of schizophrenia was first given. In contrast, having a substance-related diagnosis was associated with a younger age on first contact but did not influence the age at which the diagnosis of schizophrenia was given. Conclusion: 

It is important that both psychiatrists and the judicial system are aware of possible psychotic symptoms in criminal and abusing individuals to enable earlier detection and treatment.
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Keywords: MeSH-terms; crime; diagnosis; epidemiological factors; forensic psychiatry; jurisprudence; schizophrenia; substance-related disorders; time factors

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Psychiatric Department, Glostrup University Hospital, Copenhagen County, Denmark, 2: Centre for Preventive Medicine, Glostrup University Hospital, Copenhagen County, Denmark and 3: The Clinic of Forensic Psychiatry, Ministry of Justice, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: February 1, 2003

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