In order to understand the interplay between mental disorder and criminal behavior, it is first important to define mental disorder. A general definition of (also

In order to understand the interplay between mental disorder and criminal behavior, it is first important to define mental disorder. A general definition of (also termed or ) is a condition that impairs a person’s normal thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors. The tendency to connect mental disorder and criminal behavior is not new, and the public is quick to link mental disorder to brutal and heinous crimes. This idea is not necessarily accurate, however, as there is no specific evidence that the mentally disordered are any more violent than other groups. Insight about the connection between mental disorder and criminal behavior, however, may be gleaned by examining how closely they are related and questioning whether criminal behavior may be a specific mental disorder in itself.

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