PTSD and Criminal Behavior

July 11, 2011

It can easily be seen why those who have PTSD may be more likely to run afoul of the law.  PTSD affects how the person interrelates with others and also with the law.  Survivors of a traumatic experience are more easily irritated or feel threatened even if the threat or challenge is imaginary.  There are those who could easily be ready to act on their impulses in order to protect themselves.

Studies have shown that those who suffer from PTSD are more likely to commit acts of violence towards their families and others and this also is shown in statistics where PTSD victims have higher rates in the prison population than in the public in general.

There are basically three areas where criminal behavior may be a resulting factor of PTSDViolent thoughts, the arousal level resulting from these thoughts, and sensitive feelings resulting as a protective device.

When we enter the service we already have the flight or flight reflex. There is one more that we are made aware of and that is “pause”. This is the instinct to wait and see what the issue of alarm might be and then to calculate whether or not a reaction is necessary. In the military this pause instinct can get you killed or wounded and so the military does its best to train this out of you if you are going to be in a combat zone.

This pause characteristic is more of an important instinct to be used back in the civilized World. Unfortunately once erased it is hard to get it back.

More on these three PTSD symptoms to follow in a subsequent feature.