A second homicide by a released mentally ill person is a potentially avoidable tragedy that can reduce the prospects of conditional release for other mentally ill offenders.
The aim of this study was to compare the clinical and criminological features of single and recidivist homicide offenders with schizophrenia from the Chuvash Republic of the Russian Federation.
Data were extracted from the criminal and clinical records of all people with schizophrenia who had been convicted of a homicide in the Chuvash Republic at any time between 1 January 1981 and 31 December 2010. Those convicted of a second homicide offence during the 30 years of the study were compared with those convicted of a single homicide.
Sixteen (10.7%) of 149 homicide offenders with schizophrenia had committed a previous homicide. The 16 recidivists included nine offenders who were diagnosed with schizophrenia at the time of their first homicide (after January 1981), three who were diagnosed with schizophrenia only after the first homicide and four who had already been diagnosed with schizophrenia at the time of a pre-1981 homicide. Time at risk for recidivists and non-recidivists differed, but the average time back in the community for the non-recidivists just exceeded the average time to second homicide for the recidivists. All the recidivists were men. Living in a rural area and dissocial personality traits were associated with homicide recidivism.
In the Chuvash republic, most of the repeat homicide offences by people with schizophrenia were committed by people residing in rural areas with less access to psychiatric services, which provides indirect evidence for the efficacy of ongoing treatment and supervision in preventing repeat homicides. This area of study is, however, limited by the small numbers of cases and the long follow-up required. International collaborative studies are indicated to provide a more accurate estimate of the rate of recidivist homicide in schizophrenia.
The ABC Schizophrenia Study, a large-scale epidemiological and neurobiological research project commenced in 1987, initially pursued two aims: (1) to elucidate the possible causes of the sex difference in age at first admission for schizophrenia and (2) to analyse the early course of the disorder from onset until first contact and its implications for further course and outcome. First, transnational case-register data (for Denmark and Germany) were compared, second, a population-based sample of first-episode cases of schizophrenia (n = 232) were selected and third, the results obtained were compared with data from the WHO Determinants of Outcome Study by using a systematic methodology. A consistent result was a 3-4 years higher age of onset for women by any definition of onset, which was not explainable by social variables, such as differences in the male-female societal roles. A sensitivity-reducing effect of oestrogen on central D2 receptors was identified as the underlying neurobiological mechanism in animal experiments. Applicability to humans with schizophrenia was established in a controlled clinical study. A comparison of familial and sporadic cases showed that in cases with a high genetic load, the sex difference in age of onset disappeared due to a clearly reduced age of onset in women, whereas in sporadic cases it increased. To analyse early course retrospectively, a semistructured interview, IRAOS, was developed. The early stages of the disorder were reconstructed in comparison with age- and sex-matched controls from the same population of origin. The initial signs consisted mainly of negative and affective symptoms, which accumulated exponentially until the first episode, as did the later emerging positive symptoms. Social disability appeared 2-4 years before first admission on average. In early-onset cases, social course and outcome, studied prospectively over 5 years, was determined by the level of social development at onset through social stagnation. In late-onset cases, decline from initially high social statuses occurred. Socially negative illness behaviour contributed to the poor social outcome of young men. Symptomatology and other proxy variables of the disorder showed stable courses and no sex differences. Further aspects tested were the sequence of onset and the influence of substance abuse on the course of schizophrenia, primary and secondary negative symptoms, structural models and symptom clusters from onset until 5 years after first admission.
Estimates of lifetime risk of suicide in mental disorders were based on selected samples with incomplete follow-up.
To estimate, in a national cohort, the absolute risk of suicide within 36 years after the first psychiatric contact.
Prospective study of incident cases followed up for as long as 36 years. Median follow-up was 18 years.
Individual data drawn from Danish longitudinal registers.
A total of 176,347 persons born from January 1, 1955, through December 31, 1991, were followed up from their first contact with secondary mental health services after 15 years of age until death, emigration, disappearance, or the end of 2006. For each participant, 5 matched control individuals were included.
Absolute risk of suicide in percentage of individuals up to 36 years after the first contact.
Among men, the absolute risk of suicide (95% confidence interval [CI]) was highest for bipolar disorder, (7.77%; 6.01%-10.05%), followed by unipolar affective disorder (6.67%; 5.72%-7.78%) and schizophrenia (6.55%; 5.85%-7.34%). Among women, the highest risk was found among women with schizophrenia (4.91%; 95% CI, 4.03%-5.98%), followed by bipolar disorder (4.78%; 3.48%-6.56%). In the nonpsychiatric population, the risk was 0.72% (95% CI, 0.61%-0.86%) for men and 0.26% (0.20%-0.35%) for women. Comorbid substance abuse and comorbid unipolar affective disorder significantly increased the risk. The co-occurrence of deliberate self-harm increased the risk approximately 2-fold. Men with bipolar disorder and deliberate self-harm had the highest risk (17.08%; 95% CI, 11.19%-26.07%).
This is the first analysis of the absolute risk of suicide in a total national cohort of individuals followed up from the first psychiatric contact, and it represents, to our knowledge, the hitherto largest sample with the longest and most complete follow-up. Our estimates are lower than those most often cited, but they are still substantial and indicate the continuous need for prevention of suicide among people with mental disorders.
There is a high prevalence of smoking and physical inactivity among individuals with severe mental illness (SMI). The current study assessed the acceptability of introducing physical activity, including perceived advantages and disadvantages, as an adjunct to a smoking cessation service within this population.
109 participants with SMI who were receiving smoking cessation treatment completed a survey assessing perceived interest in physical activity and a 24-item decisional balance questionnaire reflecting potential advantages and disadvantages of becoming more physically active.
The majority of the participants reported being interested in assistance in becoming more active [63% (69/109)]. The highest rated advantages reported were 'It would improve my health or reduce my risk of disease' and 'It would improve how I feel about myself'. Cost, and being active by oneself were the most frequently reported barriers.
This study suggests that many individuals with SMI seeking treatment for smoking cessation may also be receptive to assistance in becoming more physically active. Such individuals endorse both advantages and disadvantages more frequently than those not interested.
This study provides preliminary support for the acceptability of adding physical activity as a smoking cessation strategy with SMI individuals. Addressing salient barriers will be critical to integrating physical activity within this smoking cessation service.
With the aim of detecting causal processes contributing to the onset of schizophrenic symptoms a systematic search strategy was worked out. One of the few epidemiological findings on schizophrenia consistently diverging from expected values, the sex difference in age at first admission, was taken as a basis and replicated on data from the Danish and the Mannheim case registers by controlling for selection and diagnostic artefacts. Danish psychiatrists turned out to have underdiagnosed schizophrenia to a considerable extent at least in 1976, the year from which the analysed case-register data dated. After the exclusion of alternative explanations, the time when symptoms appeared for the first time and the first acute episode occurred was determined for a representative sample of 267 first-admitted cases with a diagnosis of non-affective functional disorder by using the IRAOS interview designed for this purpose. At any of the definitions of first onset applied the mean age of females was significantly higher than that of males, the difference ranging from 3.2 to 4.1 years. The distribution of onsets across the female life cycle showed a clearly delayed increase at young age and a second, lower peak of onsets at the age of 45-54, whereas the cumulative incidence up to the age of 60 years was equal for males and females. On assessing the plausibility of psychosocial versus biological explanations it was hypothesized that due to the effect of estrogens the vulnerability threshold for schizophrenia is raised in females until the menopause. Animal experiments and postmortem analysis showed that chronic estrogen applications significantly shortened dopamine-induced behaviour and reduced D2 receptor sensitivity in the brain. The applicability of this pathophysiological mechanism on human schizophrenia was tested on acutely schizophrenic females with normal menstrual cycles. A significant negative correlation was found between measures of symptomatology and plasma estrogen levels. Apparently, the manifestation of schizophrenic symptoms is influenced by a sufficiently sensitive D2 receptor system in the brain, blocked by neuroleptics and modulated by estrogens.
Help-seeking and service utilization depends on the patients' interpretation of their illness and treatment needs. Worry, denial of illness, need for treatment and need for hospitalization in first-time admitted patients was studied.
New patients in two mental hospitals were consecutively recruited. Three hundred and thirty-four satisfied the inclusion criteria and 251 gave informed consent. One hundred and ninety-six had complete datasets (56% of those eligible).
Demography was recorded with the Minimal Basic Dataset by Ruud et al. (1993). Experiences of hospitalisation were measured with the Patient's Experience of Hospitalisation Questionnaire by Carskey et al. (1992). MINI was used for diagnosing and SCL-90-R by Derogatis (1997) for subjective symptoms. Standard multiple regressions were performed with the PEH subscales (Denial, Worry, Need for treatment and Need for hospitalisation) as dependents and demography, diagnosis and SCL-90-R subscales as explanatory variables.
(a) Psychoticism and the diagnosis of schizophrenia were associated with little worrying, denial of illness, of treatment needs and of need for hospitalisation. (b) Anxiety and affective disorders were related to worries, acknowledgement of illness, need for treatment and for hospitalisation.
In contrast to patients with mainly anxiety and affective disorders, psychotic patient tended to deny illness-related worries, that they had an illness and that they needed treatment and hospitalisation. An affective disorder together with suicidal thoughts (not attempts) was a strong drive towards hospital admission.
OBJECTIVE: To examine and compare the adult outcome in a representative sample of hospitalized adolescent-onset psychoses including occupational and social aspects. METHOD: A total of 81 patients with a first episode of early-onset psychosis (before age 19 years) presenting to the University Hospital of Lund, Sweden, between 1982 and 1993 were followed up an average of 10.5 years (range 5.1-18.2) after admission. Initial diagnosis was assessed from records and consisted of DSM-IV schizophrenia (n = 32), schizoaffective disorder (n = 7), bipolar disorder (n = 25), and major depressive disorder with psychotic features (n = 17). All could be traced and assigned a major outcome group. RESULTS: Early-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorder suffered a chronic course with a poor outcome in 79% of the cases, while early-onset affective psychosis in 74% showed a good or intermediate outcome. The poor outcome (26%) in the affective group was connected to mental retardation in 7% and to progression to a schizoaffective disorder in 12%. A particularly severe outcome was seen for schizophrenia spectrum patients with a family history of nonaffective psychosis. CONCLUSIONS: Early-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorder showed a severe course while affective psychoses had a much more benign functional outcome.
Computer-based cognitive testing is gaining in popularity because of desirable features such as ease of use, standardized administration and online data acquisition. Information technology and computer familiarity are clearly influenced by age in the general population, but the impact of this situation on cognitive testing of patients with schizophrenia has received little attention. In the present paper, participants underwent cognitive testing with computer and paper versions of the same tests. Patients underperformed controls by 1.36 DS (paper tests) and 2.27 DS (computer tests) after controlling for education. Results were highly correlated but patients with schizophrenia were disproportionately impaired on computer tests compared with their paper counterparts. Moreover, for subtests implying active keyboard input from the participant, the difference between paper and computer scores correlated with age in patients, a pattern that was not found in controls. These results have methodological implications because of the implied risk of measuring (lack of) computer proficiency in addition to bona fide cognitive deficits. They confirm, moreover, that patients with schizophrenia are victims of the "digital divide", which adds to the potential benefits of approaches like computer assisted cognitive remediation in this population.
Age of onset of psychiatric disorders was determined from a random sample of 3,258 household residents who were administered the DIS by trained lay interviewers. Onset was determined by the subject's recall of the age of the first symptom in those who met lifetime criteria for a diagnosis (DSM III without exclusions). The peak age of risk for most disorders was from the teens to 30 years, however a number of schizophrenics showed first symptoms before age 10. Few cases of any disorder had an onset in old age. The ages of onset are generally lower than those usually given from series of treated or hospitalized cases.
The purpose of this study was to describe the aging experiences of women with schizophrenia. The research focused on how participants viewed their own aging with schizophrenia, their perceived worries and concerns and how they were coping with aging with the disorder. Using a qualitative approach, data were collected using multiple in-depth interviews with six participants selected purposefully from the client list of a community mental health center. Interview transcriptions were coded and analyzed according to the study questions using QSR Nudist 4 software. Several categories and sub-categories emerged. These included the improvement in the illness over time; physical and daily living activity limitations; specific positive and negative changes that the women report have accompanied aging; the profound losses experienced by the participants when they were younger as a result of having schizophrenia; and how these losses have affected their present lives in terms of limiting available informal support, creating dependency on formal programs and services, and participants' fears of the future. Based on the study findings, implications for mental health practice and services are considered and suggestions are made to guide future research.