CHAPTER TEN: ALTERED MINDS AND CRIME: ALCOHOL, DRUGS, AND MENTAL ILLNESS

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1 CHAPTER TEN: ALTERED MINDS AND CRIME: ALCOHOL, DRUGS, AND MENTAL ILLNESS Chapter Outline I. The Scope of the Alcohol/Crime Problem a. Of all the substances used to alter mood and consciousness, alcohol is the one most directly linked to crime, especially violent crime b. One third of all arrests in the United States are for alcohol-related offenses II. The Direct Effects of Alcohol on Behavior a. The effects of alcohol on behavior is a function of the interactions of the pharmacological properties of the substance, the individual s physiology and personality, and the social and cultural context in which the substance is ingested b. Alcohol raises dopamine levels, decreases serotonin, and increases GABA, a major inhibitor of internal stimuli such as fear, anxiety, and stress III. Contextual Factors a. Alcohol is a releaser of behaviors that we normally want to keep under control b. In some social contexts, drinking may lead to violence, but not others c. Experimental research has shown that drinking increases males fantasies of power and domination d. Two of the major cultural factors influencing the relationship between alcohol consumption and criminal behavior are: defining a drinking occasion as a time out period in which control are loosened from usual behavior and a willingness to hold a person less responsible for their actions when drinking than when sober by attributing the blame to alcohol

2 e. Binge drinkers: Consume anywhere between 5 and 10 dinks in a few hours time and are particularly likely to define drinking as a time out period f. Heavy alcohol intake has a greater disinhibiting effect on behavior; so alcoholinduced disinhibition may be considered a cause of anti-social acts g. The substance and the setting are secondary in causal importance to traits of individuals drinking the beverage of their choice in the settings of their choice IV. Alcoholism: Type I and Type II a. Alcoholism: A chronic disease condition marked by progressive incapacity to control alcohol consumption despite psychological, spiritual, social, or physiological disruptions b. Most alcoholics do not get into serious trouble with the law c. Type I alcoholism: Characterized by a mild abuse, minimal criminality, and passive-dependent personality d. Type II alcoholism: Characterized by early onset, violence, and criminality, and is largely limited to males e. Heritability estimates for Type II alcoholism are about 0.90 and about 0.40 for Type I alcoholism indicating that environmental factors are much more important to understanding Type I alcoholism than Type II alcoholism V. The Extent of the Illicit Drug Problem a. The Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 was the benchmark act for changing America s concept of drugs and their use b. The Harrison Act reduced the number of addicts, but it also spawned criminal black market operations and ultimately many more addicts

3 c. As with delinquency and crime, drug use rises to a peak in the age category and then drops precipitously VI. Drug Addiction a. Drug addiction: Compulsive drug-seeking behavior where acquiring and using a drug becomes the most important activity in the user s life b. Physical dependence: Changes to the body that have occurred after repeated use of it and necessitates its continued administration to avoid withdrawal symptoms c. Psychological dependence: The deep craving for the drug and the feeling that one cannot function without it VII. Drug Classification a. Schedule I substances those that have high abuse liability and no medical use in the United States b. Schedule II substances equally high abuse liability, but have some approved medical usage c. Schedule III and Schedule IV substances moderate to moderately high abuse liability and are legally available with prescription d. Schedule V substances can be purchased without prescription VIII. The Drugs/Violence Link a. Narcotics drugs are those that reduce the sense of pain, tension, and anxiety and produce a drowsy sense of euphoria (e.g. heroin) b. The stimulants have effects opposite to those of narcotics (e.g. cocaine, crack, methamphetamine) c. Hallucinogenic drugs are mind altering drugs (e.g. LSD and Peyote)

4 d. Synthetic look-alike, or designer drugs fall into the general family of psychoactive substances IX. What Causes Drug Abuse? a. Paul Goldstein s tripartite framework: Illegal drugs are associated with violence in three ways: i. Pharmacological ii. Economic-compulsive iii. Systemic b. Systemic violence: Violence associated with traditionally aggressive patterns of interaction within the system of drug distribution and use c. Economic-compulsive violence: Violence associated with efforts to obtain money to finance the high cost of illicit drugs d. Pharmacological violence: Violence induced by the pharmacological properties of the drug itself X. What Causes Drug Abuse? a. Gottfredson and Hirschi: Crime and drug usage are the same thing that is the manifestation of low self-control b. Anomie theory: Drug abuse is a retreatist adaptation, and drug dealing is an innovative adaptation c. Social control theory: Drug abusers lack attachment to pro-social others and lack a state in conformity d. Social-learning and subculture theories: Drug abuse reflects differential exposure to individuals and groups

5 e. Conflict theory: AS the rich get richer, the poor poorer and economic opportunities are shrinking for the uneducated and the unskilled, drug dealers have taken firm root among the increasingly demoralized, disorganized, and politically powerless underclass XI. Does Drug Abuse Cause Crime? a. Illicit drug abuse is associated with criminal behavior b. A large body of research indicates that drug abuse does not appear to initiate a criminal career, although it does increase the extent and seriousness of one XII. Mental Disorders and Crime a. Mental disorders: Clinically significant conditions characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior associated with personal distress and/or impaired functioning b. Schizophrenia: The most widespread of the psychotic disorders c. Schizophrenia comes in a variety of subtypes i. Catatonic: Rigid and unresponsive ii. Paranoid: Hostile and distrusting iii. Heberphrenic: Frenetic and wild iv. Reactive: Usually marked by the onset of an acutely stressful experience d. Bipolar disorder: A disorder in which individuals alternate between the poles of extreme elation or euphoria and deep depression e. The prevalence of bipolar disorder in the general population is about 1.6% XIII. Causality: The Diathesis/Stress Model

6 a. The genetic basis of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder is well-established although how strong the genetic effect is relative to non-genetic effects remains an open question b. Both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are primarily disorders of brain chemistry c. Diathesis/stress model: A biosocial model that maintains that although mental illnesses reflect an underlying genetic vulnerability, they are often the products of multiple other factors interacting with this vulnerability d. People with mental disorders are disproportionately from the lower socioeconomic classes of society and from urban as opposed to rural areas XIV. The Link Between Mental Illness and Crime a. The majority of the mentally ill are nonviolent, and because of their vulnerability, they are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators b. The mentally ill most at risk for committing violent acts are the homeless, those who use alcohol and other drugs, and those who do not take their antipsychotic medications c. Although the mentally disordered are at greater risk for committing crimes, especially violent crimes, than the average person, they are few in number, and thus their crimes constitute only a very small proportion of all crimes committed Key Terms Alcoholism Bipolar disorder Binge drinkers Diathesis/stress model Drug addiction Economic-compulsive violence Mental disorder Pharmacological violence Physical dependence Psychological dependence Schizophrenia Systemic violence Tolerance Type I alcoholism Type II alcoholism Withdrawal

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