Deliberate Self-Harm in Adolescents
Occurrences of deliberate self-harm (DSH) are commonly encountered when caring for adolescents, especially in mental healthcare settings. Defined as the intentional damage of body tissues without suicidal intent, DSH is officially included as a symptom of borderline personality disorder. However, DSH also occurs along with many other mental health conditions and also in nonclinical populations. The lifetime prevalence of DSH in adolescents and young adults varies greatly depending on the population studied, and is noted to be up to 80 % in some psychiatric inpatient populations. Because DSH is a marker for increased risk of future suicide attempts and can cause distress and injury, clinicians need to be able to provide thorough assessment of the behavior, monitor for suicidality, and refer for or provide proper treatment. This chapter covers how self-harm is defined and reviews the epidemiology of this behavior. Theories of the psychological function and the currently understood pathophysiology, along with recommended clinical approaches, assessment, and treatment strategies, are discussed.
KeywordsBurning Depression Dopamine Cortisol Morphine
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