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Free Content White Paper: Psychiatric Drugs and Violence

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This article expresses the International Society for Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry's position regarding the link between psychiatric drug use and violence. It first presents a model of human emotion and, in particular, it focuses on the emotion of anger. It notes that anger can be seen as a protective emotion that occurs when another painful emotion is too intense or chronic. Anger serves to provide the person with the power to overcome but may also result in violent behavior if not managed sufficiently. A person's risk of acting violently depends on several risk factors. Whereas some of the risk factors are historical in nature and, therefore, cannot be changed (e.g., gender, past instances of violence, etc.), 5 factors can be managed to reduce one's risk. Of these 5, one is the use of mind-altering substances such as alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs. The results of empirical research are also presented showing the link between psychiatric drug use, its effect on cognition, and the very negative experiences that can lead to anger, and thus, violence. The article concludes by challenging 2 counter positions that (a) only a small percentage of people are negatively affected by psychiatric drugs and (b) the benefits of psychiatric drugs outweigh any risk. It is shown that these two positions are not justified.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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