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Psychiatry: Did the gunman in Munich suffer from depression?


The gunman from Munich is said to have suffered from depression. Can the diseases lead to a killing spree?
Numerous media reports that the gunman from Munich suffered from depression. But can that be true? Prof. Dr. Ulrich Hegel, chairman of the board of the German Depression Aid Foundation and director of the clinic and polyclinic for psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University Hospital Leipzig says that this can not really be true. At least not in connection with the terrible act.

Prof. Ulrich Hegel: “Depression of the perpetrator as the cause of the killing spree in Munich is certainly out of the question. Even if the gunman has been treated for depression, it does not mean that it played a role in the crime. Around 4 million people in Germany are currently suffering from depression requiring treatment, and there is no evidence that these people commit violence more often than others. On the contrary, people with depression are usually particularly responsible and caring people in a healthy state. In the depressive phase of the disease, they tend to feel exaggeratedly guilty, and this is even a key diagnostic feature. They always blame themselves, not others, and would therefore never think of killing strangers in a killing spree.

Falsely portraying the killing spree as a result of depression intensifies the stigmatization of people with depression. This increases the hurdle for them to get professional help. Depression that is not optimally treated causes great unnecessary suffering and is the main cause of the approximately 10,000 suicides (suicides) and 150,000 suicide attempts in Germany each year. An increase in stigma will lead to an increase in suicides. ”(Sb, pm)

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