For people with mental illnesses, antipsychotics have proven to greatly alter their moods, behaviors, and actions. In a new study, researchers analyzed the relationship between taking antipsychotic medication or mood stabilizers against the rate of violent crimes. Through their research, they found that when people with psychiatric illnesses take their medications, they become around 50 percent less likely to commit a violent crime compared to when they skip their medications.
The psychiatric diagnoses of 40,937 men and 41,710 women in Sweden who were given mood-stabilizing and antipsychotic drugs between 2006 and 2009 were analyzed for the study, which was published in The Lancet per Canada Journal.
A team of British and Swedish researchers, led by Dr. Seena Fazel from Oxford University, found that 6.5% men and 1.4% of women were found guilty of a violent crime in the span of those three years.
Those patients who received antipsychotics committed 45% fewer violent crimes during periods when they were not on medication, though that figure was 24% lower for those on mood stabilizers.
Taking a combination of both types of drugs had no further effect on the number of violent crimes committed, the researchers deduced.
The team also discovered that, while the antipsychotics are typically prescribed to people diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, many study participants were taking them for other conditions such as depression or substance abuse.
Dr. Fazel said it was unknown until the study whether antipsychotic and mood-stabilizing drugs had any impact on the level of violent crimes committed.
He said that his team’s research suggested the risk of violence could be dramatically reduced by antipsychotic drugs, and that violence could even be preventable in patients that have psychiatric disorders.
Up to one in 50 people in the United Kingdom(2%) are thought to suffer from schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or related disorders.