Mental and Physical Changes that People Experience
The human body is an intricate and complicated machine with many different mechanisms to regulate physical and mental health. As an individual develops and grows, several things can affect behavior. A person's life stage, an injury, or a serious illness, for example, can affect those regulatory mechanisms and lead to criminal behavior. Mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and addiction can also lead to dangerous, potentially criminal behavior. Both mental illness and physical changes in the body caused by illness or injury can be a factor in deciding whether to hold a person legally accountable for committing a crime.
How These Changes Can Affect Someone's Behavior
Head injuries and brain diseases can cause people to behave erratically and unpredictably. Brain researchers are finding more and more evidence that shows traumatic brain injury can lead to criminal behavior, and the connection between criminality and brain illnesses such as lesions or tumors has become established science. (“When brain lesions occur within the brain network responsible for morality and value-based decision-making, they can predispose a person toward criminal behavior,” a 2017 study found.) A disregard for social norms and even laws has even been found to be a predictor of dementia.
An individual's behavior can also be affected by hormonal imbalances. An example of this is testosterone. Testosterone is the male sex hormone. Higher levels of testosterone have been linked to risky behavior, including breaking the law and violence. In both men and women, chemicals called neurotransmitters send messages within brain cells that can affect an individual's emotions, mood, and behavior. Three main chemicals have shown links between biology and crime. These are:
- Norepinephrine – Norepinephrine is linked to an individual's fight or flight response.
- Dopamine – Dopamine is linked to an individual's thinking, motivations, and feelings of reward and pleasure.
- Serotonin – Serotonin is linked to many things such as sleep, aggression, anger, and sex drive.
These chemicals can be thrown out of balance by physical illness or pain, and this can affect behavior, either by fueling an individual with rage, removing inhibitions, or causing them to think irrationally. While it may be difficult to use chemical imbalance as an absolute defense against a crime, the fact that someone suffers from a chemical disorder may show that the individual did not have criminal intent.
Why Hiring the Lento Law Firm Is the Right Choice
If you are facing criminal charges, make sure to speak to an experienced defense attorney immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento has helped people across New Jersey successfully defend their criminal cases. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 to learn why hiring Attorney Lento and his expert team are the right choice to help resolve your legal issue.