Reasons For Homicidal Urges

Published: August 28, 2014
Dear TeenHealthFX,

What are some reasons someone might be having homicidal urges? Do they mean anything?

Dear Reasons For Homicidal Urges,

There are a number of reasons a person may experience homicidal thoughts or urges and they should always be taken very seriously. 

Sometimes there are events in the environment that can lead to homicidal rages. The disruption of a relationship, jealousy or thoughts of revenge are examples of situations where a person could become extremely volatile or impulsive and act out without thought of consequences. Once the person calms down he/she can feel significant remorse for his/her actions but the destruction cannot be undone. 

On rare occasions, during a psychotic break, a person can develop a thought that convinces him/her that committing murder is the only way to resolve the issue presented in a delusion he/she is experiencing. A person’s thoughts in a psychotic state are separated from reality, delusional, disorganized and can be unpredictable. They believe these thoughts or hallucinations are real and sometimes he/she hear voices commanding them to take action. 

Homicidal ideation or “harming thoughts” can occur as a form of Obsessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  In this variation of OCD, the person has constant intrusive thoughts telling him/her to do harm to a person. Like many bizarre thoughts that accompany OCD, the person realizes they are not rational, but constant thoughts over time could lead to a psychotic break. 

There more comprehensive and achievable the homicidal ideation, the greater the threat. A person that has a detailed and fully formulated plan to commit an act of violence towards a person or institution presents as a significant risk to the community and needs to be professionally assessed immediately. Vague homicidal ideation without a plan, usually does not pose as an immediate threat, but it does signal that he/she could benefit from talking with a mental health professional. 

Homicidal thought or urges do mean something and need to be addressed.  It can be range from a cry for help to a warning that something very bad may happen. 

If a person gets to the point that they are seriously considering harming someone you or are afraid they are not in control of their impulses then you need to seek help immediately. You can call 911 or get them to the nearest hospital emergency room. In northern New Jersey you can also call the crisis hotline from Atlantic Health at 973-540-0100.


Signed: TeenHealthFX