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PSY 270 Mind Over Matter
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What is the difference between mental illness and insanity?

According to the McNaughten rule insanity is a legal term use to describe individuals who are unable to determine between right and wrong at the time of committing a crime.  A mentally ill individual might still be able to determine between right and wrong but instead of being classified as insane they are simply described as having a mental illness. 

The McNaughten rule cannot be used to defend the actions of a person who drinks alcohol and then murders someone. Why not? 

An individual is not able to use the McNaughten rule if they have committed a murder while intoxicated because the state of being intoxicated is the result of a voluntary choice made by the individual.  The individual made a conscious decision to drink alcohol, which they knew could cause them to have an altered mental status.

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