In Little Rock, Saturday, the annual conference for the Arkansas Psychiatric Society was held on the UAMS campus.
Dr. Bowen White, M.D. was one of the featured speakers of the day. His topic "Why Normal Isn't Healthy" is also the name of his book.
As psychiatrists evaluate, study and diagnose, even they find some peoples' actions difficult to explain.
Dr. Raymond Molden, president of the Arkansas Psychiatry Society is a forensic psychiatrist--and part of his job is to evaluate criminals to see if a mental illness or defect contributed to their crime.
"One thing to keep in mind is that just having mental illness doesn't make you at any higher risk than general population to become violent. So MOST violence is not done by somebody who is mentally ill." says Molden.
Regarding the recent shooting in Aurora, CO, Molden says the suspect's demeanor in the courtroom does show some signs of instability. He says many times there are very few ways to know that a person is struggling inside, until they lash out verbally or physically ...
There are a few things everyone can be aware of:
changes in behaviors
outgoing person becomes withdrawn
performance at work suddenly slipping
turning to drugs or alcohol
Molden says, "It's those times where we take for granted the changes we see in people that could be warning signs about whether or not they're having problems...the biggest predictor of future violence is past violence."
Still sometimes we may never know what is going on---in that mind of theirs.
Molden says, "It's one of those things where we're very early in the process of understanding. So it'd be mostly guessing right now-- you know--about was this guy mentally ill or not? To get into the mind of a killer is often, you know, uhmm, a lengthy process."