Radicalization and psychiatry: a plea for a broad perspective
background The extent to which psychiatry can, and should, contribute to the prevention of terrorism and the countering of radicalization is under debate. The political dimension of the problem raises questions about the desirability of active psychiatric involvement.
aim To deepen the debate by discussing the role of psychiatric disorders in terrorist activities, as well as the role of societal determinants in radicalization processes.
method Review of relevant literature and theoretical analysis.
results Radicalization processes are heterogeneous and have determinants at individual, social and societal level. In a small minority of ‘radicalizing’ individuals severe psychopathology plays a role.
conclusion Knowledge of the factors relevant to radicalization at individual, social and societal level is necessary for psychiatrists to act responsibly, both at case level, and in the public and scientific debate.