Objectives: Discuss the role of psychiatry, especially that of its forensic subspecialty, in the management of terrorism and radicalization. Background: In recent years, we have witnessed an increase in political, religious and ideological violence throughout the world. The governmental entities have defined policies to combat this phenomenon that include a role for mental health services in the identification of individuals at risk of radicalization. Materials and Methods: Critical literature review based on PubMed/MEDLINE, using the keywords “terrorism”, “radicalization” and “psychiatry”. Results and Conclusions: The scientific body on psychological phenomena associated with terrorism is scanty and paved with methodological inaccuracies. There is no evidence of an association between mental pathology and radicalization, but there is a greater prevalence of psychopathology in solitary terrorists. Counterterrorism policies are not in line with scientific knowledge and can contribute to increased isolation and discrimination, requiring a breach of confidentiality that would make it impossible to establish a therapeutic relationship. The psychiatry's intervention should not involve evaluation of radicalization risk or the adoption of techniques to promote the reverse process, but the treatment of mental disturbances associated with terrorism perpetrators and victims, deconstructing stigma and avoiding discrimination. Psychiatrists working in a medical-legal context are in a unique position to study terrorism and radicalization, however, their evaluation in this specific type of violence needs to be cautiously individualized.
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