Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2019 Nov;17(4):475-486. 10.9758/cpn.2019.17.4.475.

Biological Aspects of Aggression and Violence in Schizophrenia

  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.,
  • 2Clinical Counseling Psychology Graduate School, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University School of Medicine, Seongnam, Korea.


Although the majority of patients with schizophrenia are not actually violent, an increased tendency toward violent behaviors is known to be associated with schizophrenia. There are several factors to consider when identifying the subgroup of patients with schizophrenia who may commit violent or aggressive acts. Comorbidity with substance abuse is the most important clinical indicator of increased aggressive behaviors and crime rates in patients with schizophrenia. Genetic studies have proposed that polymorphisms in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene and in the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene are related to aggression. Neuroimaging studies have suggested that fronto-limbic dysfunction may be related to aggression or violence. By identifying specific risk factors, a more efficient treatment plan to prevent violent behavior in schizophrenia will be possible. Management of comorbid substance use disorder may help prevent violent events and overall aggression. Currently, clozapine may be the only effective antipsychotic medication to repress aggressive behavior. With the current medical field moving toward tailored medicine, it is important to identify vulnerable schizophrenia populations and provide efficient treatment.


Aggression; Violence; Schizophrenia; Neuroimaging; Antipsychotic agents
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