Columbia University Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
February 2, 2009

A new large study challenges the idea that mental illness alone is a leading cause of violence. Researchers instead blame a combination of factors, specifically substance abuse and a history of violent acts, that drives up the danger when combined with mental illness in what they call an ''intricate link.'

''We are being misled by our own fears,' said Columbia University psychiatry professor Dr. Paul Appelbaum, who wasn't involved in the new study. ''We ought to be concerned about providing good treatment and helping people lead fulfilling lives, not obsessed with protecting ourselves from phantom threats that appear to be unrelated to mental illness.'

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