Are people with schizophrenia dangerous?

Add your answer...

6 Answers

Generally, violent and criminal acts directly attributable to schizophrenia account for only a very small proportion of such acts in society. When they do occur, it may be because patients become so paranoid that they strike out at others in response to perceived threats, or they may have a command hallucination instructing them to hurt others. It is more common for hallucinations to instruct patients to hurt themselves, however, so instances of harming others are rare. Violence can also occur when schizophrenia is compounded by untreated drug use. Therefore, while people with schizophrenia can hurt others, they are far more likely to hurt themselves. When they are violent, it is most often because they have not been adequately treated. It is far more likely for those with schizophrenia to be the objects of violence and crime than perpetrators. more
Thanks for your feedback!

Related Videos

No, people with schizophrenia are not often dangerous. Occasionally schizophrenia can make people feel angry or upset. This can cause violent outbursts and some people may become threatening or even lash out. more
" As a rule statistically, it tends not to be the case. They tend to be more likely victims than harmful. They tend to be fairly helpless. You can have a case where a schizophrenic might harm somebody. A paranoid schizophrenic, for instance, might develop a delusion to harm somebody and so there are definitely such cases but for the most part, again, they are more victims than oppressors. They're more--they're very vulnerable because they aren't capable of dealing with other people. They often aren't capable of defending themselves. One more. Yes. Student: How permanent are the effects of the medications? Professor Paul Bloom: The question is, "How permanent is the effect of the medication?" Do you mean for schizophrenia? Student: Do they have to stay on the medication for [inaudible] Professor Paul Bloom: Yes. In general, I think. I can't think of any exceptions. The effects of medication are temporary. Now, that doesn't mean if you have a bout of OCD or depression you have to be on ... more
Popular books and movies often depict people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses as dangerous and violent. This is not true. Most people with schizophrenia are not violent; more typically, they prefer to withdraw and be left alone.[ In some cases, however, people with mental illness who also abuse alcohol or drugs may engage in dangerous or violent behavior. On the other hand, people with schizophrenia can be a danger to themselves. Suicide is the number one cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia. According to the World Fellowship for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders, 1 in 10 people with schizophrenia commits suicide and 4 in 10 are known to have attempted suicide. What Is the Outlook for People With Schizophrenia? With proper treatment, most people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives. They are able to live with their families or in community settings rather than in long-term psychiatric institutions. Ongoing research on the brain ... more

I would like to add some clarification to the above answers:  Most types of schizophrenia do not pose a threat to either the schizophrenic or society. 

However, persons suffering from paranoid schizophrenia can be dangerous.  This statement is not an attempt to punish or vilify PS suffers--who are not responsible for their illness, and are wholly without fault in this terrible condition--but the above answers are more politically correct than accurate. 

For the sake of safety, people need to be aware that while a ps sufferer can be harmless and/or medicated most of the time, schizophrenics tend to only worsen with time, and many stop taking their meds--especially ps sufferers because of their paranoid delusions of outside forces seeking to do them harm:  Imagine the reaction of someone who believes the government is out to destroy them, and is then told to take a pill every day. 

Ps sufferers can become violent, and have been known to kill in what they perceive as acts of self defense.  While I fully concede that such extremes are rare, there's really no telling which ps sufferer will have such an episode, or when.  If you would like further proof, google the words "schizophrenic shot police" and see how many articles come up.

For what it's worth, I speak from personal experience:  15 years ago, a boyfriend of mine developed paranoid schizophrenia and began to hunt for me with a knife.  Orders of protection don't really work against psychosis.

Again, I don't make the above statements in any effort to ostracize ps sufferers, I simply want people to be safe.


It is sad that our society is so ignorant that people seem to believe the stereotype that people with
paranoid schizophrenia are dangerous they can, but at least not always, and studies show repeatedly that they are more dangerous to themselves and members their families. A carefree teenager who is drunk or on drugs is just as dangerous, if not more than one person with a mental illness.

Not the answer you're looking for? Try asking your own question.