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Psychiatr Serv. 2012 Jan;63(1):33-9. doi: 10.1176/

Prevalence of involvement in the criminal justice system during severe mania and associated symptomatology.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 55 Lake Ave. N., Worcester, MA 01655, USA.



This study sought to determine the prevalence of criminal justice involvement during episodes of mania and to identify whether specific manic symptoms contribute to this risk.


Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, a nationally representative sample of noninstitutionalized U.S. adults (N=43,093), were analyzed to determine the rate of legal involvement (being arrested, held at the police station, or jailed) of individuals with bipolar I disorder during the most severe lifetime manic episode.


Among the 1,044 respondents (2.5%) who met criteria for having experienced a manic episode, 13.0% reported legal involvement during the most severe manic episode. Unadjusted analyses found legal involvement more likely among those with episode-specific symptoms of increased self-esteem or grandiosity, increased libido, excessive engagement in pleasurable activities with a high risk of painful consequences, having six or more criterion B manic symptoms, and having both social and occupational impairment. The risk was lower among those with hypertalkativeness or pressured speech. When analyses adjusted for other manic symptoms and static variables, males, those with a first episode at age 23 or younger, and persons with mania-associated social indiscretions, excessive spending or reckless driving, and both social and occupational impairment were at greater risk.


A large percentage of persons experience legal involvement during a manic episode, and it is associated with specific symptoms of mania. Efforts to reduce such involvement among persons during manic episodes may be enhanced by focusing attention and resources on this high-risk group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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