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expert reaction to study showing there is no link between epilepsy and violent behaviour

A Swedish study published in PLoS Medicine concluded that there is no link between epilepsy and violent crime.


Mike Kerr, Professor of Learning Disability Psychiatry, Cardiff University, said:

“This is an important well conducted study that adds valuable information to diminish one of the unproven stigmas associated with epilepsy.
The authors show that people with epilepsy are not more prone to commit violent crime when compared with their siblings, though there was a slight increased risk when those with drug addiction were removed and comparison was made with the general population. This concurs with clinical evidence that shows that directed violence in a seizure is rare and in the main occurs only when an individual encroaches into the personal space of somebody who is confused during or after a seizure. The study should be used to improve public attitude to people with epilepsy.”

‘Risk of Violent Crime in Individuals with Epilepsy and Traumatic Brain Injury: A 35-Year Swedish Population Study’, Fazel et al, published in PLoS Medicine, December 2011.

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