ASSESSING PHYSICAL ABUSERS: BREAKING THE ABUSER’S SECRECY: FINDINGS(part 5)

Diagnosis

Physical abusers can present with a variety of mental health diagnosis. In this study, 27% of the subjects had diagnoses of adjustment disorder; 9% had a diagnoses of personality disorder cluster 2; 7% had the diagnoses of intermittent explosive disorder, and 58% had multiple diagnosis, the majority of which involving substance abuse and one or more of the above diagnosis, usually including Intermittent Explosive Disorder.

Thirty-eight percent of the subjects did not present with substance abuse concerns or related diagnosis. However, 62% did present with substance abuse or dependency problems. Thirteen percent of the subjects who presented with substance abuse were diagnosed with either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency and 13% presented with substance abuse/dependency issues involving a combination of both alcohol and drugs. In 29% of the cases, alcohol was involved in the index offense; and 7% were under the influence of both drugs and alcohol during the index offense. Of the subjects who presented with drug abuse/dependency, all also had substance abuse issues involving alcohol as well.

Psychotropic Medication

Seventy-six percent of the subjects were not currently prescribed any psychotropic medication; 22% were currently taking psychotropic medication, and 2% were prescribed psychotropic medication and were noncompliant, refusing to take the medication. Seven percent of the subjects had a history of being prescribed psychotropic medication in the past but were not currently taking them or did not have a current prescription for medication.

Empathy

Empathy is defined as demonstrating any verbal concern for their victim’s well-being; comments indicating caring about the harm they caused the victim; not blaming the victim for the abuser’s offense behavior; being able to communicate or demonstrate putting themselves in their victim’s position (e.g., appreciating the role of what the victim experiences); and engaging in behavior that demonstrates concern for safety (e.g., not harassing or stalking; not violating any restraining order; following through with promised or ordered intervention; paying support as expected; willingness to participate in treatment). The degrees of empathy used here were subjectively rated by the examiner and to avoid difficulty differentiating between some and significant degrees of empathy the percentages could simply reflect that 58% of the subjects demonstrated little if any recognizable signs of empathy and 41% demonstrated some degree of empathy. Of those demonstrating empathy, 28% demonstrated some degree of empathy towards their victim and only 13% demonstrated what could be described as significant degrees of empathy towards their victims.

Representative APR 391%

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