Pattison and Kahan reported the symptoms associated with the deliberate self-harm syndrome. The authors are from the Medical College of Georgia.


Features of the deliberate self-harm syndrome:

(1) The person is conscious, aware and lucid.

(2) The person intentionally performs destructive, painful and/or injurious acts on self.

(3) The person does not intend to commit suicide.


Symptoms of deliberate self-harm include:

(1) background of depression

(2) intrusive impulses to perform acts of self-harm that are sudden, strong and recurrent

(3) perception of being unable to resist these impulses

(4) feeling trapped in an intolerable situation that cannot be controlled or coped with

(5) increasing negative feelings (anger, anxiety, agitation)

(6) narrowed perspective on personal situation and alternative actions

(7) feeling better after acts of self-harm due to psychic relief or "release" from the preceding tension


Common comorbid issues:

(1) alcohol and/or drug abuse

(2) lack of social support


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