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Schizophrenia: Warning Signs of Violence

Topic Overview

While most people with schizophrenia are not violent, violence is one of the reasons someone who has schizophrenia may need hospitalization. It is a way to protect the person or those around him or her until the delusions or hallucinations often associated with the violence pass.

Common signs that can indicate someone with schizophrenia may become violent include:

  • Talking about violence, especially when directed toward specific people or groups of people (such as past co-workers) or places, such as churches or government buildings.
  • Talking, writing, or drawing about death and violence.
  • Having unexplained mood changes or behaving aggressively or violently. Aggressive acts may include teasing and taunting other people by calling them names; threatening, making fun of, or playing mind games with other people; or making threatening phone calls.
  • Buying or talking about having weapons or other means, such as poisons, that could hurt or kill people.
  • Not taking responsibility for his or her actions or saying that the actions are justified because of how he or she has been treated.
  • Drinking alcohol or using illegal drugs more frequently.
  • Increased fears of other people (paranoia).
  • Telling someone that he or she hears voices telling him or her to hurt or kill another person.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: May 28, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health

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