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NCJ Number: 73281 Find in a Library
Title: Epilepsy and Delinquency
Journal: Jornal Brasileiro de Psiquiatria  Volume:19  Issue:3  Dated:(July - December 1970)  Pages:245-249
Author(s): D Braga; J P deOliveira Filho
Date Published: 1970
Page Count: 5
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: Portuguese
Country: Brazil
Annotation: Epilepsy as a nonbehavioral correlate of crime is still a controversial subject; while it cannot be entirely dismissed, patients suffering from other types of mental illness show a much higher incidence of criminal violence.
Abstract: The correlation between epileptic seizures and incontrollably violent behavior was already known thousands of years ago (e.g., the portrayal of Hercules in a Greek tragedy by Euripides, going on a violent rampage in the throes of a seizure, apparently of the temporal-lobe epilepsy type). A close linkage between epilepsy and crime was postulated by criminologists of the Italian inborn-criminality school, and is still accepted by a large number of today's criminologists and psychiatrists in various countries. Based on recent diagnostic advances, encephalographic research, and Brazilian and foreign statistics, criminality among epileptics appears to be comparatively rare. Surveys conducted at Brazilian hospitals for the criminally insane, as well as findings by psychiatrists in other countries, contradict the classic psychiatric theories linking epilepsy with violent crime. Individuals suffering from other types of mental illness (e.g., encephalopathy, schizophrenia) commit more violent crimes than epileptic patients. A study of the epilepsy-violence correlation must distinguish between crimes committed by nonpsychotic epileptics and crimes committed by psychotic epileptics, who suffer from other mental pathologies. The rare crimes committed by nonpsychotic epileptics appear to be triggered by psychological and socioeconomic factors creating tensions they cannot bear. In contrast, psychotic epileptics commit crimes of extreme violence in a state of partially or totally altered consciousness (twilight state), which is also a state of automatism, caused by temporal-lobe, or locomotor epilepsy. The violent behavior, however, is due to psychiatric complications caused by the other mental illnesses concurrently suffered by these epileptics. Eight references are appended. --in Portuguese.
Index Term(s): Aggression; Brazil; Crime Causes; Criminology; Encephalographic research; Epilepsy; Forensic psychiatry; Mental disorders; Neurological disorders; Nonbehavioral correlates of crime; Psychiatry; Violence; Violent offenders
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=73281

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