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Self-Injurious Behaviors 

Self-Injurious Behaviors
Chapter:
Self-Injurious Behaviors
Author(s):

Victor G. Carrión

, John A. Turner

, and Carl F. Weems

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190201968.003.0006
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date: 28 May 2020

Self-injurious behaviors represent a heterogeneous group of behaviors that affect the individual negatively either in a physiological, physical, and/or emotional manner. Many children who have survived a traumatic event engage in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) as a diversely expressed, maladaptive coping mechanism that has been associated with a variety of negative outcomes across the lifespan. The current chapter discusses the preclinical literature that informs our understanding of these behaviors, the various instruments used to assess them, and research on adults and children who engage in self-injurious behaviors (SIB). Several theoretical models for the neurological substrates of SIB are compared, suggesting that SIB use several parts of the brain to manage otherwise uncontrollable cascades of negative affect in PTSD. Challenges, such as the stigma surrounding SIB engagement and its strong association with borderline personality disorder, as well as future directions, including potential SIB directed pharmacological interventions, are discussed.

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