Mood Disorders and Suicide in the Correctional Population: The Importance of Recognizing Comorbidity

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Authors: Alan A. Abrams, Maheen Patel, Tyler Jones, Yu-Fei Huang, Nesibe Soysal, Lobna Ibrahim, Constance N. Flanagan, Cessare Scott, KyleeAnn Stevens, Gavin Rose, and Alan Newman
Page Range: 261-272
Published in: International Journal of Child Health and Human Development, Volume 1, Issue 3 (2008)
ISSN: 1939-5965

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Table of Contents

The identification or recognition of mental disorders in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) is fraught with difficulties. Some obstacles are merely definitional, e.g. delimiting where the boundaries of Impulse Control Disorder NOS or Paraphilia NOS might exist. More significant hurdles are the reliance on inaccurate self-report, persistent substance induced altered CNS functioning in many detainees, and the atypical presentation of individual psychiatric disorders in persons with multiple comorbidities, combined with troubled and deviant life histories. Identification and treatment of mood disorders in the CJS is presently an area requiring further development through studies on the multiply comorbid, both in and out of custody. Recent studies on pediatric mood disoders suggest that there may be a subgroup that end up in the CJS as they get older. Predicting suicide in the criminal justice system is similarly difficult because of the low specificity of predictive methods. Many inmates have multiple risk factors, and multiple psychiatric comorbidities. Nonetheless suicide and attempted suicide are rare events in the CJS. Programs of suicide prevention in the criminal justice system have been successful.

Keywords: Suicide, affective, mood, prisoner, comorbidity, substance abuse.