Homicidal behavior in men with psychiatric disorders

Leo Sher, M.D.

Our scholarly work, “Prevention of homicidal behavior in men with psychiatric disorders” was published 5 years ago in the June 2015 issue of the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry (1). This paper is the most comprehensive review of homicidal behavior in men with psychiatric conditions in the history of science and medicine.

We reviewed the scholarly literature on men’s mental health with a focus on assessing and reducing homicide risk in men with psychiatric disorders. There is a significant amount of research studies to suggest that the serotonergic system plays a significant role in aggressive and impulsive behavior through putative interactions with testosterone in men. The neurobiology of homicide is being increasingly understood on the molecular and cellular level.

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia seem to share a neural endophenotype that is a risk factor for homicidal behavior. Dual disorders, or the presence of a substance use disorder with other major mental illness, are also an important risk factor for homicide in men. Studies demonstrate that individuals with both mental illness and a co-occurring substance use disorder are at the highest risk for violence and murder. Dual diagnosis disorders, personality disorders and pathological traits and male depression share emotion dysregulation, irritability, and reactive aggression.

Promoting physician education, addressing firearm safety, reducing the reluctance of men relative to women to engage in help-seeking behavior, and using targeted risk interviews which integrate these data may reduce homicidal behavior in men with mental illness. It is very important to identify high risk groups, to provide adequate treatment, and to facilitate compliance with long-term treatment while considering male specific problems and needs. As neuroendocrinology continues to develop, future opportunities to prevent homicidal behavior will undoubtedly present.

Reference

  1. Sher L., Rice T.R., on behalf of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) Task Force on Men’s Mental Health. Prevention of homicidal behavior in men with psychiatric disorders. A WFSBP Consensus Paper. World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 212-229.

The World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) Task Force on Men’s Mental Health

“Prevention of homicidal behavior in men with psychiatric disorders” is a Consensus Paper of the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry (WFSBP) Task Force on Men’s Mental Health.

The WFSBP Task Force on Men’s Mental Health was founded in 2013, according to my proposal. My proposal to create this Task Force was supported by the WFSBP leadership, especially by Professor Constantin Soldatos (Greece), then the President of the WFSBP.

Currently, the WFSBP Task Force on Men’s Mental Health consists of 33 scholars from many countries in North and South America, Europe, and Asia:

Officers:

Chair:

Leo Sher (USA)

Co-Chairs:

Timothy R. Rice (USA)

Zoltan Rihmer (Hungary)

Members:

Mikkel Arendt (Denmark)

Dolores Braquehais (Spain)

Javier Didia-Attas (Argentina)

Trine Flensborg-Madsen (Denmark)

Masahito Fushimi (Japan)

Julia Golier (USA)

Xenia Gonda (Hungary)

Jussi Jokinen (Sweden)

Styliani Kaliora (Greece)

Shigenobu Kanba (Japan)

Jose de Leon (USA)

Shih-Ku Lin (Taiwan)

John Mann (USA)

Mushtaq Margoob (India)

Joav Merrick (Israel)

Narseta Mickuviene (Lithuania)

Anne-Maria Möller-Leimkühler (Germany)

Alexander Neumeister (USA)

Maria A. Oquendo (USA)

Jorge Ospina-Duque (Colombia)

Dolores Picouto (Spain)

Carlos Roncero (Spain)

Wolfgang Rutz (Sweden)

Serge Sevy (USA)

Lesha Shah (USA)

Rishi Sood (USA)

Robert G. Stern (USA)

Nestor Szerman (Spain)

Pilar Trelles (USA)

Andreas Walther (Germany)