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Can You Fake Mental Illness?

james holmes crazy fake mental illness

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#1    Still Waters

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:31 PM

When someone commits a horrific, inexplicable crime, we naturally wonder whether he’s mentally ill: Who but a crazy person could do such a thing? But when a killer acts crazy after his arrest, we also might wonder whether he’s preparing for his trial. That’s the speculation around Colorado shooter James Holmes, whose psychiatric treatment and bizarre behavior in court and prison make people wonder whether he’s truly insane or building a case for an insanity defense. It leads to the question: Can a criminal get away with faking insanity?

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#2    questionmark

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:35 PM

Not if the psychologist making the analysis is worth its money. But you surely can fake all symptoms of a mental illness if you know enough about it. But sooner or later everybody drops his guard.

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#3    Anonymous User

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:43 PM

"Can a criminal get away with faking insanity?"

I guess that depends how convincing they are. For more serious cases they would probably be forced to be checked out by doctors, psychologists, whoever.


#4    Amy the Mighty

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 06:55 PM

If Psychology is seen as airy-fairy pretendy science, we will continue to see this belief that you can pretend to have a mental illness and get away with it. Along with this, will be the assumption that some mental illnesses cause the patient legitimate pain and suffering, while others are merely a fancy sounding name to cover up some character defects.

I imagine that while James Holmes's defence team will be able to point to some weird, quirky behaviour and cast doubt on his mental state, they would be more effective if they could identify situations in his history where he's experienced stress and trauma, and try to develop the story of how those experiences lead him to the position he is now in. Even if he has a family history of mental disorder, I would hate to see them whack an official diagnosis on him to diminish responsibility for his actions, because to do so, reflects negatively on every person who shares that diagnosis and hasn't gunned down a bunch of people.


#5    _Only

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:06 PM

How is someone who murders a bunch of random people not mentally ill? I don't understand. Are we going to go back to the conspiracy theory explaining the event?

Bypassing that option, what would be the alternative to mental illness for someone shooting an assault rifle into a crowd of strangers?

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#6    questionmark

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:20 PM

View Post_Only, on 09 August 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

How is someone who murders a bunch of random people not mentally ill? I don't understand. Are we going to go back to the conspiracy theory explaining the event?

Bypassing that option, what would be the alternative to mental illness for someone shooting an assault rifle into a crowd of strangers?

It depends how you define mental illness. You can use the term sociopath, but analyzing it it would apply to almost everybody in prison on a longer term.

Sociopaths cannot be treated with pills.

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#7    spud the mackem

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:27 PM

The best example I have seen of faking mental illness is Jack Nicholson in the movie "One flew over the cuckoo's  nest", but in true life I dont believe that anyone going around murdering people is mentally incapable, they know what they are doing. mentall insanity is a Defence Lawyers act to get their client off,or a reduced sentence.And as long as these lawyers are paid huge sums they will go the whole 9 yards to get the case dismissed,All they have to do is convince some crappy ancient Judge past his shelf life,and hey presto the villian gets off lightly.

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#8    spud the mackem

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 07:37 PM

View Post_Only, on 09 August 2012 - 07:06 PM, said:

How is someone who murders a bunch of random people not mentally ill? I don't understand. Are we going to go back to the conspiracy theory explaining the event?

Bypassing that option, what would be the alternative to mental illness for someone shooting an assault rifle into a crowd of strangers?
  As soon as the guy picks up the rifle he is planning
(1) His scene of crime ,how many bullets to take with him.
(2) How to get there without causing attention to himself
(3) How to cause Maximum damage
(4) His escape route.
Please dont tell me anyone who does this is Mentally Insane,its Premeditated and I'm sorry I can't accept any other reason

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#9    _Only

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 12:54 AM

View Postspud the mackem, on 09 August 2012 - 07:37 PM, said:

As soon as the guy picks up the rifle he is planning
(1) His scene of crime ,how many bullets to take with him.
(2) How to get there without causing attention to himself
(3) How to cause Maximum damage
(4) His escape route.
Please dont tell me anyone who does this is Mentally Insane,its Premeditated and I'm sorry I can't accept any other reason

Paranoid schizophrenics are fully capable of planning a shooting.. to rid the area of aliens, or something similar. Mental illness oesnt mean brain dead. For what reason would a sane person want to kill aaa random crowd of people?


Edited by _Only, 10 August 2012 - 01:00 AM.

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#10    pallidin

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 01:09 AM

I don't have to fake mental illness. :passifier:


#11    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 06:32 AM

View Post_Only, on 10 August 2012 - 12:54 AM, said:

Paranoid schizophrenics are fully capable of planning a shooting.. to rid the area of aliens, or something similar. Mental illness oesnt mean brain dead. For what reason would a sane person want to kill aaa random crowd of people?
  Hi Buddy,How long do people have to have P.S without someone noticing their odd behaviour ?or does it just come on overnight ?(I'm not trying to be funny I just dont have the facts about this particular subject)..If I saw someone I knew behaving in an odd manner I would have a word with their families or something similar..in such a way as not to upset whom I was talking to.If they are a "loner" there's not much you Can do.cheers...

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#12    spud the mackem

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 06:37 AM

View Postpallidin, on 10 August 2012 - 01:09 AM, said:

I don't have to fake mental illness. :passifier:
  Aye lad there's nowt so queer as people and even thee's a little queerer than me.(North England saying) .Enjoy the day cheers.

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#13    _Only

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 07:11 AM

The only time action can be forced on someone mentally ill is if they show that they are a harm to themselves, others, or gravely disabled. So either when they let someone know they want to do harm, or when it's too late.

Aside from that, many people with mind problems act and look fairly normal. There's just things going on inside that are ripping them up. I assume at some point for many (like we've seen in other cases like this) it gets to be too much and they snap. I would be willing to bet most people with problems in their mind keep it inside, and their families just see them as having big problems, but not knowing what exactly.

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#14    Charlie Prime

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 03:16 PM

View PostStill Waters, on 09 August 2012 - 06:31 PM, said:

Can You Fake Mental Illness?

It is possible for a person to successfully fake a mental illness.

The vast majority of psychologists and psychiatrists derive sustenance from government subsidy (Medicare, Medicaid, direct government employment, etc).  Thus, they tend to be very poor at their trade because their pay is based upon bureaucratic compliance rather than performing good science.

Defense attorneys always hold the Mental Incompetence card in their negotiations with Prosecutors.  Both side know this and act accordingly.  Keep that in mind when monitoring media coverage of such things.  In Texas where I live that card is usually played to avoid execution in favor of a life sentence.  Usually successfully.


#15    notoverrated

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Posted 10 August 2012 - 03:28 PM

who cares if they are insane?

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