Research Topic

What Works for Forensic Psychiatric Patients: From Treatment Evaluations to Short and Long-Term Outcomes

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Forensic psychiatric care treats mentally disordered offenders. These patients suffer mainly from psychotic disorders, although co-morbidities such as personality disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and substance abuse are common. They have all committed criminal acts, of which a majority are violent. ...

Forensic psychiatric care treats mentally disordered offenders. These patients suffer mainly from psychotic disorders, although co-morbidities such as personality disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders, and substance abuse are common. They have all committed criminal acts, of which a majority are violent. Their caregivers’ mission is thus complex: not only to rehabilitate the patient, who is treated involuntarily, but also to consider his or her risk for re-offending in the process of reintegration to society.

Treatment research in forensic psychiatry is challenging in many ways. The patients suffer from severe conditions, and many clinicians would resist jeopardizing their patients’ health when participating in a study. Co-morbidity is common, which is a known obstacle to treatment trials. In addition, many patients have impaired insight in their illness, which, together with the involuntary nature of the care, poses great ethical challenges to the introduction of research in the care of this patient group.
Notwithstanding, there is currently an urgent need for more research on forensic psychiatric care. Recent reviews have identified gaps of knowledge in all forensic psychiatric domains relevant to the treatment of its patients.

Contributors to this Research Topic are welcome to present not only high-quality effect studies of pharmacological, psychological or psychosocial interventions in mentally disordered offenders, but also reviews and longitudinal outcome studies. This may help define a best practice and form new guidelines in the care of this highly vulnerable and costly group of patients.


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