Pontius syndrome

Pontius syndrome2016-11-16T13:39:48+00:00

Pontius syndrome

FORENSIC PSYCHIATRY

Definition A transient neuropsychiatric state in which a previously normal person, often a social loner, ‘snaps’ and commits unpremeditated and remorseless acts of extreme violence–e.g., homicide and mass murder

Clinical findings The episode may be preceded by hallucinations or déjà vu, and accompanied by nausea, tachycardia, incontinence, delusions of grandeur

The validity of this syndrome is uncertain, and attributed by Pontius to an engendering neurophysiologic trigger, which she believed ‘kindles’ a limbic seizure. There has been concern that validation of the syndromemight invite its misuse as a legal defense for what might be defined as irrational or motiveless murders; if proven valid, Pontius syndrome could be responsible for 1% of homicides committed each year in the US.

Synonyms Irrational murder, limbic psychotic trigger reaction, motiveless murder  

Note: I came across this term in Technology Rev 10/96, p52). There are no peer-reviewed papers among the scant (15) hits on 12/06/2014. The term is best not used. 

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