Show Summary Details
Page of

Self-harm 

Self-harm
Chapter:
Self-harm
Author(s):

Kate E.A. Saunders

, and Keith Hawton

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198746690.003.0622
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE (www.oxfordmedicine.com). © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 28 February 2021

Self-harm is one of the commonest reasons people present to hospital emergency departments and the most frequent form of self-harm is overdose. Most patients who self-harm have an emotional disturbance, commonly an adjustment or mood disorder, often in a context of situational or relationship stresses, and personality difficulties. Some have more severe psychiatric disorders. Intoxication with alcohol is common. All patients presenting with self-harm require both a medical and a psychiatric assessment. The latter should include an assessment of problems, needs and suicide risk. Children require particularly careful assessment. In assessing suicide risk, it should be noted that the medical dangerousness of the act does not necessarily reflect the intent, and that repeat self-harm greatly increases the risk of eventual suicide. Psychiatric management depends on the patient's problems and diagnosis. There is some evidence that brief psychological intervention can decrease the risk of repeat self-harm.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.