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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Insanity Defense - A Critical Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Psychiatry and Law Volume: 11 Issue: 2 Dated: (Summer 1983) Pages: 125-136
I K Packer
Date Published
12 pages
As the concept of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become more widely publicized, it has been used as a defense for criminal charges in a number of court cases.
The implications of PTSD for the insanity defense are examined with reference to case examples. It is concluded that in most cases the argument for a finding of insanity based on PTSD rests on invalid, deterministic reasoning. In rare cases, an individual with PTSD will experience a psychotic or dissociative episode and may then meet the criteria for legal insanity. (Publisher abstract)