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Posts Tagged ‘Self Injury’

The AP (http://tinyurl.com/abilify-for-autism 11/21) reported that the FDA “has approved top-selling Abilify [aripiprazole] as a treatment for autism-related irritability in children from the ages of six 17…Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Friday.” The agency’s “latest approval allows the” medication “to be used to treat symptoms associated with autism, such as aggression toward others, deliberate infliction of self-injury, tempter tantrums, and moodiness.” Bristol-Myers and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., collaborators on the development and distribution of Abilify in the US and Europe, “said in a statement that it was intended to be used as part of a more comprehensive treatment program that includes educational, psychological, and social aspects.”

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BBC News (3/2) reports that a study from Oxford University in the British Journal of Psychiatry suggested “cases of self-harm were on the rise” for those in the military, and that they “need more support to address mental health problems.” The researchers found 166 cases “involving armed services personnel attending a local hospital from 1989 to 2003,” and data suggested that “the problem was getting worse.” The BBC notes that the “most common method used was overdosing on painkillers, sedatives and anti-depressants.”

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The Chicago Tribune (12/3, Shelton) reports, “Researchers evaluating a new technique for locating and removing objects accidentally embedded in the body say they may have uncovered a new form of self-mutilating behavior in which teenagers intentionally insert objects into their flesh.” According to personnel at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, they have extracted “52 foreign objects that 10 teenage girls deliberately embedded in their arms, hands, feet, ankles, and necks over the last three years, including needles, staples, wood, stone, glass, pencil lead, and a crayon.” In fact, “one patient had inserted 11 objects, including an unfolded metal paper clip more than six inches long.” These findings were presented at a radiology meeting, and the researchers said that this is the first study “on this type of self-inflicted injury among teenagers.”
        WebMD (12/3, Laino) points out that “more common forms of self-injury include cutting the skin, burning or bruising the body, pulling hair, breaking bones, and swallowing toxic substances. In self-embedding disorder, objects are used to puncture the skin or are embedded into a wound after cutting, often causing swelling and inflammation.” Currently, it is not known “how many teens engage in self-mutilation, but it’s clear that the practice is common, especially among adolescent girls.”

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Newsweek (12/29, Bennett) reported that “for the millions…who hurt themselves intentionally,” what starts as an impulse and “a moment of relief becomes a secret habit — a need for pain that medical science doesn’t fully understand and can treat with only mixed success.”  Currently, “self-injury of any kind does not appear in the” American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) “as a diagnosable disorder,” but is instead “a symptom of a larger problem.”  According to clinical psychologist Wendy Lader, “people who harm themselves almost always suffer from larger mental conditions, often the result of emotional trauma.”  Mental-health professionals, “who treat people who harm themselves, say that getting to the root of the problem — the emotion that’s causing the urge to injure — is at the heart of any recovery process.”  The article focused primarily on the experiences of Becki Begnato, who began cutting at age 13.  Now in college, Begnato is recovering after “years of treatment.”

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In the first article in a short series on self-injury, the Los Angeles Times (12/8, Roan) reports, “Self-inflicted injuries appear to be on the rise, with some young people actually embedding objects in their skin. Stress may be a factor.” But, “even more disturbing than” the “X-rays and accompanying report” presented at a radiology meeting, “could be the size and pervasiveness of the trend from which it derives — self-injury.” Some experts “say that 15…to 22 percent of all adolescents and young adults have intentionally injured themselves at least once in their lifetimes,” and a recent “study of 94 girls, ages 10 to 14, found that 56 percent had hurt themselves at least once.” Research also indicates “the behavior may be building among adults, as well,” because “one study found that one percent of adults self-injure.” Consequently, “at least two committees” working on the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual “are addressing self-injury for inclusion in the text.”
        In a separate article, the Los Angeles Times (12/8, Roan) discusses people who may be prone to self-injury. For instance, experts say that “the behavior is more common among people with previous traumatic experience, such as sexual abuse.” Self-injury is also more prevalent “among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, military personnel returning from combat, and people who are incarcerated.” Most self-injurers (70 percent) are female, and the “average age at which self-injury begins is 15.” To date, “at least 18 forms of self-injury have been recorded in medical literature, including cutting, burning, ripping, scratching, rubbing skin with glass or objects, preventing wounds from healing, pulling out hair, breaking bones, putting acid on skin, and mutilating genitals.”
        Therapists hopeful insurers will provide coverage for the disorder. The Los Angeles Times (12/8, Roan) reports, “Even one incident of self-injury should not be ignored by the people who spot it.” Therapists who deal with self-injury “are hopeful that the disorder will receive a name and a definition in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders because, as of now, treatment is not covered by insurance. To receive reimbursement for treatment, many therapists classify the patient as having another disorder, such as depression or borderline personality disorder.”

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