Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Head To Head Maudsley Debate

Do cases like that of Anders Breivik show that fanaticism is a form of madness? Yes

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e4612 (Published 11 July 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e4612

Rapid Response:

Re: Do cases like that of Anders Breivik show that fanaticism is a form of madness? Yes

Fanaticism a form of madness? NO. This is only being proposed because Breivik tragically killed several innocent people for no other reason than to gain public attention for his extremist views. This is something that is incomprehensible and totally unacceptable to the majority of people. But does that mean he has a psychiatric disorder driving his loss of contact with reality or could it be something more malevolent and less popular in psychiatry such as pure and simple evil. I think it does a disservice to those patients who have psychotic illnesses when all who perform acts of wickedness are referred to as mentally unwell or in lay terms mad. Not all individuals with psychotic illnesses commit heinous acts, not all people with psychotic illnesses are evil.

Competing interests: No competing interests

15 July 2012
Dola Okusi
CAMHS specialty trainee
Springfield hospital
Springfield hospital 61 glenburnie rd tooting SW17