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Understanding the connection between depression and violence

09-08 | Rachael

Understanding the connection between depression and violence

Depression is a frightful mental illness that affects the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. It can be extremely debilitating as one might face constant feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and agitation at any time.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), major depressive disorder affects nearly 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population aged 18 years or older, in a given year.

Depression is often associated with violent acts like suicide, crimes, homicide, assaults, sexual crimes and self-harm. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that depression is one of the leading causes of injury and disease worldwide, having negative effects on the families and communities of the sufferer. Though depression can be related to violence, yet all depressed people do not have violent streaks. Various researches have been conducted to understand the connection between depression and violence.

Depression could lead to violence

A group of professors from the University of Oxford conducted a twin study, one of which examined the role of depressive symptoms responsible for violent crime. This study was conducted on 47,158 Swedish patients with outpatient diagnoses of depressive disorders for about a period of three years. The results of this research showed that individuals who were suffering from depression were three times more likely to commit violent crimes. The depressive symptoms were associated with an increased risk of violence.

Though a large number of depressed people neither indulged in violence nor in crimes, the researchers found that 3.7 percent depressed men committed more crimes, compared to 1.2 percent of men in the general population. Whereas, among the depressed women, this count was about 0.5 percent, compared to 0.2 percent of general women population committing crimes. This number is still lower than the rate of violence among the patients with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

A study of the history of violent crime, substance abuse, psychosis through this research also proved that there is a connection between violence and depression. This is because going through a diagnosis can get really frustrating which might result in anger and desperate criminal acts. This reinforces the need to observe, accept and work on any such feelings that might occur during the depressive phase.

Although depression is linked to violence, this association nowhere indicates that depressed people are dangerous or they could cause harm.

Depression is more likely to inspire self-harm

According to the NIMH, people suffering from depression are more likely to indulge in inward violence rather than harming someone else. The number of people committing suicide among depressed people goes up to 11.3 persons per 100,000 people. This number shows that depression is more dangerous for the sufferer itself. Moreover, depression that remains untreated is the major cause of suicides among the youth.

Violence leads to depression

People who suffer from domestic violence often develop the symptoms of depression. A violent relationship can have a deep and lasting impact on mental health, making its victim a patient of deep depression in need of assistance from one of the depression treatment centers in Colorado.

A 2013 study by PLOS Medicine observed that “women who are exposed to IPV are at increased risk of subsequent depression and that women who are depressed are more likely to be at risk of IPV.” The study suggested that clinicians should pay attention to past experiences of violence and the risk of future violence when treating women with symptoms of depression. While this is true for women, it is equally true for men. Those who go through a history of violence and pain tend to develop symptoms of depression which at times leads to violence.

People involved in violent crimes are often found suffering from some kind of mental disorder and depression is one among these. Besides, several studies show that depressed people have a history of violence. Both violence and depression move in a circle and the need is to break through this circuit; patients of depression need a hand of help, not hostility.

Recovery roadmap

Helping a depressed person can sometimes seem to be a tough task. The healthy partner might also feel sad and demotivated when the depressed partner acts too negative and hopeless. But the individual should remember that only love and support can aid faster recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from depression, get in touch with the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado for information on depression treatment centers in Colorado. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 427-5668 or chat online with our representatives to find out about one of the best centers for depression treatment in Colorado.


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