DUI and Mental Illness: New Studies Show Possible Link

Statistics have proven that at least 33 percent of the people who are arrested for a DUI will eventually become a repeat offender. This statistic is astounding to many people, especially when you consider the fact that just one DUI conviction is extremely expensive and can make it difficult to obtain future employment. Due to this, researchers decided to take a look at the potential link between mental illness and DUIs. The results could lead to a change in the way that repeat offenders are handled by the law.


What is the Link between DUIs and Mental Illness?

Researchers at the PIRE Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest conducted a 10 year study that took a close look at DUI offenders who had been arrested for the same crime at least twice. Almost 60 percent of the participants in this study had received treatment for bipolar disorder, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder at some point during their life. Additionally, many of them were dealing with alcoholism or drug abuse.

In other words, the majority of repeat DUI offenders were battling substance abuse and mental illness, and this definitely makes it easier to explain their actions. 

How Can This Information Be Used to Reduce DUI’s?

Although it is likely that most states will not have the necessary funding to mandate a mental health evaluation for each DUI offender, it is important for lawmakers throughout the nation carefully consider making this an option. This could be especially beneficial for individuals who receive their second DUI. After all, if it can be conclusively determines that a repeat offender has an untreated mental health or substance abuse issue, they can be given the opportunity to receive treatment instead of being penalized with jail time.

This could help dramatically improve the quality of the offender’s life, and it will reduce the possibility that they will be arrested for a DUI again. Additionally, taking this approach can help keep nonviolent offenders out of prison. 

What Are Some of the Factors That Cause Repeat Offenses?

Researchers have indicated for a long time that one of the major factors that can lead to a second or third DUI offense is the emotional and financial trauma that is caused by the first one. Although it can be difficult for many people to understand why someone would drown their sorrows about a DUI by getting drunk, it actually makes a lot more sense when you realize that so many of these individuals are already dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues.

For example, if an individual who has major depression is arrested for a DUI, they might experience severe feelings of hopelessness that cause them to drink again. It is also important to note that an inebriated individual has a vastly diminished capacity to make good judgment calls, and this is one of the leading causes of DUIs.If you or a loved one is experiencing issues with mental health or substance abuse, it is imperative to seek treatment. Sadly, many people end up being arrested for a DUI before they recognize the fact there is problem. Keep in mind that a skilled DUI attorney can give you a much better chance of receiving an acquittal, and this will make it easier for you to afford the appropriate treatment that can help you avoid a second DUI arrest.

Writer Melanie Fleury has witnessed family members attempt to mask a deeper issue with alcohol. These studies confirm what she has always suspected. With these family members living in Orlando, she searched  http://www.thetixteam.com/ to learn more about what can be done legally when someone receives a DUI.


Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hey__paul/8106468654/

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