A study at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute of 133 violent offenders shows 58 percent had consumed alcohol within 24 hours before the violent act.

A large majority of the offenders were men with psychiatric diagnoses and most of the victims were known to the attackers.

Researchers at the Stockholm medical school said a 13.2-fold increase in the risk of violence was found within 24 hours of alcohol consumption. The relative risk of violence was based on comparison with each individual’s usual frequency of alcohol use during the previous year, in a case-crossover analysis.

Use of other drugs, such as benzodiazepines and antidepressants in regular doses, was associated with a decreased risk of violence. Contrary to other studies the risk for criminal violence was not increased if the consumption of alcohol was combined with benzodiazepines.

Alcohol seems to have the largest triggering effect on violence compared to other substances we investigated, said Ulrika Haggard-Grann of the Karolinska Institute This suggests treatment for individuals at risk for violence should be focused on decreasing their alcohol consumption.

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