Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 22–30

The plight of chronic self-mutilators

  • Armando R. Favazza
  • Karen Conterio
Articles

Abstract

Self-mutilation is a more common behavior than generally realized; its prevalence may be 750 per 100,000. From the responses of 250 subjects to a Self-Harm Behavior Survey we have learned that self-mutilation typically begins in early adolescence and may assume a chronic course characterized by severe psychosocial morbidity. Some chronic self-mutilators already are heavy and generally dissatisfied users of mental health services. The number of them seeking help may increase as a result of heightened public awareness. Community mental health facilities may be hard-pressed to meet the needs and demands of these clinically vexing patients.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Cautela, J.R. & Baron, M.G. (1973). Multifaceted behavior therapy of self-injurious behaviors.Journal of Behavior Therapy Exp Psychiatry, 4, 125–131.Google Scholar
  2. Cawte, J. (1974).Medicine is the law. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  3. Coid, J., Allolio, B. & Rees, C.H. (1983). Raised plasma metenkephalin in patients who deliberately mutilate themselves.Lancet, 545–546.Google Scholar
  4. Crabtree, L.H. (1967). A psychotherapeutic encounter with a self-mutilating patient.Psychiatry, 30, 91–100.Google Scholar
  5. Eliade, M. (1975).Rites and symbols of initiation. New York, Harper and RowGoogle Scholar
  6. Emerson, L.E. (1933). The case of Miss A: a preliminary report of psychoanalytic study and treatment of a case of mutilation.Psychoanalytic Rev, 1, 41–54.Google Scholar
  7. Favazza, A. (1987).Bodies under seige: Self-mutilation in culture and psychiatry. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Herdt, G.H. (1982). Sambia nosebleeding rites.Ethos 10, 189–231.Google Scholar
  9. Jacobs, B.W. & Isaacs, S. (1986). Pre-pubertal anorexia nervosa.Journal of Child Psychiatry, 27, 237–250.Google Scholar
  10. Kafka, J.S. (1969). The body as a transitional object: A psychoanalytic study of a self-mutilating patient.British Journal of Medicine and Psychiatry, 42, 207–212.Google Scholar
  11. Kwawer, J.S. (1980). Some interpersonal aspects of self-mutilation in a borderline patient.Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 8, 203–216.Google Scholar
  12. Lincoln, B. (1975). The Indo-European myth of creation.History Religion, 15, 121–145.Google Scholar
  13. Menninger, K. (1938).Man against himself. NY: Harcourt Brace World.Google Scholar
  14. Mitchell, J.E., Boutacoff, C.I., Hatsukami, D., Pyle, R.L. & Ekert, E.D. (1986). Laxative abuse as a variant of bulimia.Journal of Nervous Mental Disease, 174, 174–176.Google Scholar
  15. Morinis, A. (1985). The ritual experience.Ethos, 13, 150–174.Google Scholar
  16. Novotny, P. (1972). Self-cutting.Bull Menninger Clinic, 36, 505–514.Google Scholar
  17. Pattison, E.M. & Kahan, J. (1983). The deliberate self-harm syndrome.American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 867–872.Google Scholar
  18. Richardson, J.S. & Zaleski, W.A. (1986). Endogenous opiates and self-mutilation.American Journal of Psychiatry, 143, 938–939.Google Scholar
  19. Romanczyk, R.G. & Goren, E.R. (1975). Severe self-injurious behavior.Journal of Consulting Clinical Psychology, 43, 730–739.Google Scholar
  20. Rosen, D.H. (1972). Focal suicide.American Journal of Psychiatry, 128, 1009–1011.Google Scholar
  21. Ross, R.R. & McKay, H.B. (1979).Self-mutilation. Lexington, Mass: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  22. Siomopolous, V. (1974). Repeated self-cutting; An impulse neurosis.American Journal of Psychotherapy, 28, 85–94.Google Scholar
  23. Toch, H. (1975).Men in crisis. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  24. Virkkunen, M. (1976). Self-mutilation in antisocial personality (disorder).Acta Psychiat Scandinavica, 54, 347–352.Google Scholar
  25. Whitehead, P.C., Johnson, F.G. & Ferrence, R. (1973). Measuring the incidence of self-injury.American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 43, 142–148.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armando R. Favazza
    • 1
  • Karen Conterio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbia

Personalised recommendations