|Other names||Deliberate self-harm (DSH), self-injury (SI), self-poisoning, nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI), cutting|
|Healed scars on the forearm from prior self harm|
Self-harm, also known as self-injury, is defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissue, done without the intent to commit suicide. Other terms such as cutting and self-mutilation have been used for any self-harming behavior regardless of suicidal intent. The most common form of self-harm is using a sharp object to cut one's skin. Other forms include behaviour such as burning, scratching, or hitting body parts. While older definitions included behaviour such as interfering with wound healing, excessive skin picking (dermatillomania), hair pulling (trichotillomania) and the ingestion of toxic substances or objects as self-harm, in current terminology those are differentiated from the term self-harm.
Behaviours associated with substance abuse and eating disorders are not considered self-harm because the resulting tissue damage is ordinarily an unintentional side effect. Although suicide is not the intention of self-harm, the relationship between self-harm and suicide is complex, as self-harming behaviour may be potentially life-threatening. There is also an increased risk of suicide in individuals who self-harm and self-harm is found in 40–60% of suicides. However, generalising individuals who self-harm to be suicidal is, in the majority of cases, inaccurate.
The desire to self-harm is a common symptom of some personality disorders. People with other mental disorders may also self-harm, including those with depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and dissociative disorders. Studies also provide strong support for a self-punishment function, and modest evidence for anti-dissociation, interpersonal-influence, anti-suicide, sensation-seeking, and interpersonal boundaries functions. Self-harm can also occur in high-functioning individuals who have no underlying mental health diagnosis. The motivations for self-harm vary. Some use it as a coping mechanism to provide temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness, or a sense of failure. Self-harm is often associated with a history of trauma, including emotional and sexual abuse. There are a number of different methods that can be used to treat self-harm and which concentrate on either treating the underlying causes or on treating the behaviour itself. When self-harm is associated with depression, antidepressant drugs and therapy may be effective. Other approaches involve avoidance techniques, which focus on keeping the individual occupied with other activities, or replacing the act of self-harm with safer methods that do not lead to permanent damage.
Self-harm is most common between the ages of 12 and 24. Self-harm is more common in females than males with this risk being five times greater in the 12–15 age group. Self-harm in childhood is relatively rare but the rate has been increasing since the 1980s. Self-harm can also occur in the elderly population. The risk of serious injury and suicide is higher in older people who self-harm. Captive animals, such as birds and monkeys, are also known to participate in self-harming behaviour.
- 1 Classification
- 2 Signs and symptoms
- 3 Cause
- 4 Pathophysiology
- 5 Treatment
- 6 Epidemiology
- 7 History
- 8 Adolescents and digital self-harm
- 9 Awareness and opposition
- 10 Other animals
- 11 References
- 12 External links
Self-harm (SH), also referred to as self-injury (SI), self-inflicted violence (SIV), nonsuicidal self injury (NSSI) or self-injurious behaviour (SIB), are different terms to ascribe behaviours where demonstrable injury is self-inflicted. The behaviour involves deliberate tissue damage that is usually performed without suicidal intent. The most common form of self-harm involves cutting of the skin using a sharp object, e. g. a knife or razor blade. The term self-mutilation is also sometimes used, although this phrase evokes connotations that some find worrisome, inaccurate, or offensive. Self-inflicted wounds is a specific term associated with soldiers to describe non-lethal injuries inflicted in order to obtain early dismissal from combat. This differs from the common definition of self-harm, as damage is inflicted for a specific secondary purpose. A broader definition of self-harm might also include those who inflict harm on their bodies by means of disordered eating.
The older literature has used several different terms. For this reason research in the past decades has inconsistently focused on self-harming behavior without and with suicidal intent (including suicide attempts) with varying definitions leading to inconsistent and unclear results.
Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) has been listed as a proposed disorder in the DSM-5 under the category "Conditions for Further Study". It is noted that this proposal of diagnostic criteria for a future diagnosis is not an officially approved diagnosis and may not be used for clinical use but is meant for research purposes only. The disorder is defined as intentional self-inflicted injury without the intent of committing suicide. Criteria for NSSI include five or more days of self-inflicted harm over the course of one year without suicidal intent, and the individual must have been motivated by seeking relief from a negative state, resolving an interpersonal difficulty, or achieving a positive state.
A common belief regarding self-harm is that it is an attention-seeking behaviour; however, in many cases, this is inaccurate. Many self-harmers are very self-conscious of their wounds and scars and feel guilty about their behaviour, leading them to go to great lengths to conceal their behaviour from others. They may offer alternative explanations for their injuries, or conceal their scars with clothing. Self-harm in such individuals may not be associated with suicidal or para-suicidal behaviour. People who self-harm are not usually seeking to end their own life; it has been suggested instead that they are using self-harm as a coping mechanism to relieve emotional pain or discomfort or as an attempt to communicate distress. Alternatively, interpretations based on the supposed lethality of a self-harm may not give clear indications as to its intent: seemingly superficial cuts may have been a suicide attempt, whereas life-threatening damage may have been done without the intent to die.
Studies of individuals with developmental disabilities (such as intellectual disability) have shown self-harm being dependent on environmental factors such as obtaining attention or escape from demands. Some individuals may have dissociation harboring a desire to feel real or to fit into society's rules.
Signs and symptoms
Eighty percent of self-harm involves stabbing or cutting the skin with a sharp object. However, the number of self-harm methods are only limited by an individual's inventiveness and their determination to harm themselves; this includes burning, self-poisoning, alcohol abuse, self-embedding of objects, hair pulling, bruising/hitting one's self, scratching to hurt one's self, knowingly abusing over the counter or prescription drugs, and forms of self-harm related to anorexia and bulimia. The locations of self-harm are often areas of the body that are easily hidden and concealed from the detection of others. As well as defining self-harm in terms of the act of damaging the body, it may be more accurate to define self-harm in terms of the intent, and the emotional distress that the person is attempting to deal with. Neither the DSM-IV-TR nor the ICD-10 provide diagnostic criteria for self-harm. It is often seen as only a symptom of an underlying disorder, though many people who self-harm would like this to be addressed. Common signs that a person may be engaging in self-harm include the following: they ensure that there are always harmful objects close by, they are experiencing difficulties in their personal relationships, their behaviour becomes unpredictable, they question their worth and identity, they make statements that display helplessness and hopelessness.
Although some people who self-harm do not have any form of recognised mental disorder, many people experiencing various forms of mental illnesses do have a higher risk of self-harm. The key areas of disorder which exhibit an increased risk include autism spectrum disorders, borderline personality disorder, dissociative disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, phobias, and conduct disorders. Schizophrenia may also be a contributing factor for self-harm. Those diagnosed with schizophrenia have a high risk of suicide, which is particularly greater in younger patients as they may not have an insight into the serious effects that the disorder can have on their lives. Substance abuse is also considered a risk factor as are some personal characteristics such as poor problem-solving skills and impulsivity. There are parallels between self-harm and Münchausen syndrome, a psychiatric disorder in which individuals feign illness or trauma. There may be a common ground of inner distress culminating in self-directed harm in a Münchausen patient. However, a desire to deceive medical personnel in order to gain treatment and attention is more important in Münchausen's than in self-harm.
Abuse during childhood is accepted as a primary social factor increasing the incidence of self-harm, as is bereavement, and troubled parental or partner relationships. Factors such as war, poverty, and unemployment may also contribute. Other predictors of self-harm and suicidal behavior include feelings of entrapment, defeat, lack of belonging, and perceiving oneself as a burden along with less effective social problem-solving skills. Self-harm is frequently described as an experience of depersonalisation or a dissociative state. As many as 70% of individuals with borderline personality disorder engage in self-harm. An estimated 30% of individuals with autism spectrum disorders engage in self-harm at some point, including eye-poking, skin-picking, hand-biting, and head-banging. The onset of puberty has also been shown to be the onset of self-harm including the onset of sexual activity; this is because the pubertal period is a period of neurodevelopmental vulnerability and comes with an increased risk of emotional disorders and risk-taking behaviors.
The most distinctive characteristic of the rare genetic condition, Lesch–Nyhan syndrome, is self-harm and may include biting and head-banging. Genetics may contribute to the risk of developing other psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression, which could in turn lead to self-harming behaviour. However, the link between genetics and self-harm in otherwise healthy patients is largely inconclusive.
Drugs and alcohol
Substance misuse, dependence and withdrawal are associated with self-harm. Benzodiazepine dependence as well as benzodiazepine withdrawal is associated with self-harming behaviour in young people. Alcohol is a major risk factor for self-harm. A study which analysed self-harm presentations to emergency rooms in Northern Ireland found that alcohol was a major contributing factor and involved in 63.8% of self-harm presentations. A recent study in the relation between cannabis use and deliberate self-harm (DSH) in Norway and England found that, in general, cannabis use may not be a specific risk factor for DSH in young adolescents. Smoking has also been associated with self-harm in adolescents; one study found that suicide attempts were four times higher for adolescents that smoke than for those that do not.
Self-harm is not typically suicidal behaviour, although there is the possibility that a self-inflicted injury may result in life-threatening damage. Although the person may not recognise the connection, self-harm often becomes a response to profound and overwhelming emotional pain that cannot be resolved in a more functional way.
The motivations for self-harm vary, as it may be used to fulfill a number of different functions. These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness and a sense of failure or self-loathing. There is also a positive statistical correlation between self-harm and emotional abuse. Self-harm may become a means of managing and controlling pain, in contrast to the pain experienced earlier in the person's life of which they had no control over (e.g., through abuse).
Other motives for self-harm do not fit into medicalised models of behaviour and may seem incomprehensible to others, as demonstrated by this quotation: "My motivations for self-harming were diverse, but included examining the interior of my arms for hydraulic lines. This may sound strange."
Assessment of motives in a medical setting is usually based on precursors to the incident, circumstances, and information from the patient. However, limited studies show that professional assessments tend to suggest more manipulative or punitive motives than personal assessments.
The UK ONS study reported only two motives: "to draw attention" and "because of anger". For some people, harming themselves can be a means of drawing attention to the need for help and to ask for assistance in an indirect way. It may also be an attempt to affect others and to manipulate them in some way emotionally. However, those with chronic, repetitive self-harm often do not want attention and hide their scars carefully.
Many people who self-harm state that it allows them to "go away" or dissociate, separating the mind from feelings that are causing anguish. This may be achieved by tricking the mind into believing that the present suffering being felt is caused by the self-harm instead of the issues they were facing previously: the physical pain therefore acts as a distraction from the original emotional pain. To complement this theory, one can consider the need to "stop" feeling emotional pain and mental agitation. "A person may be hyper-sensitive and overwhelmed; a great many thoughts may be revolving within their mind, and they may either become triggered or could make a decision to stop the overwhelming feelings."
Alternatively, self-harm may be a means of feeling something, even if the sensation is unpleasant and painful. Those who self-harm sometimes describe feelings of emptiness or numbness (anhedonia), and physical pain may be a relief from these feelings. "A person may be detached from themselves, detached from life, numb and unfeeling. They may then recognise the need to function more, or have a desire to feel real again, and a decision is made to create sensation and 'wake up'."
Those who engage in self-harm face the contradictory reality of harming themselves while at the same time obtaining relief from this act. It may even be hard for some to actually initiate cutting, but they often do because they know the relief that will follow. For some self-harmers this relief is primarily psychological while for others this feeling of relief comes from the beta endorphins released in the brain. Endorphins are endogenous opioids that are released in response to physical injury, acting as natural painkillers and inducing pleasant feelings, and in response to self-harm would act to reduce tension and emotional distress. Many self-harmers report feeling very little to no pain while self-harming and, for some, deliberate self-harm may become a means of seeking pleasure.
As a coping mechanism, self-harm can become psychologically addictive because, to the self-harmer, it works; it enables them to deal with intense stress in the current moment. The patterns sometimes created by it, such as specific time intervals between acts of self-harm, can also create a behavioural pattern that can result in a wanting or craving to fulfill thoughts of self-harm.
Autonomic nervous system
Emotional pain activates the same regions of the brain as physical pain, so emotional stress can be a significantly intolerable state for some people. Some of this is environmental and some of this is due to physiological differences in responding. The autonomic nervous system is composed of two components: the sympathetic nervous system controls arousal and physical activation (e.g., the fight-or-flight response) and the parasympathetic nervous system controls physical processes that are automatic (e.g., saliva production). The sympathetic nervous system innervates (e.g., is physically connected to and regulates) many parts of the body involved in stress responses. Studies of adolescents have shown that adolescents who self-injure have greater physiological reactivity (e.g., skin conductance) to stress than adolescents who do not self-injure. This stress response persists over time, staying constant or even increasing in self-injuring adolescents, but gradually decreases in adolescents who do not self-injure.
There is considerable uncertainty about which forms of psychosocial and physical treatments of people who harm themselves are most effective. Psychiatric and personality disorders are common in individuals who self-harm and as a result self-harm may be an indicator of depression and/or other psychological problems. Many people who self-harm have moderate or severe depression and therefore treatment with antidepressant medications may often be used. There is tentative evidence for the medication flupentixol; however, greater study is required before it can be recommended.
There is no well-established treatment for self-injurious behaviour in children or adolescents. Cognitive behavioural therapy may also be used to assist those with Axis I diagnoses, such as depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT) can be successful for those individuals exhibiting a personality disorder, and could potentially be used for those with other mental disorders who exhibit self-harming behaviour. Diagnosis and treatment of the causes of self-harm is thought by many to be the best approach to treating self-harm. But in some cases, particularly in people with a personality disorder, this is not very effective, so more clinicians are starting to take a DBT approach in order to reduce the behaviour itself. People who rely on habitual self-harm are sometimes hospitalised, based on their stability, their ability and especially their willingness to get help. In adolescents multisystem therapy shows promise. Treatments such as CBT, family intervention, interpersonal therapy, and various psychodynamic therapies were all shown to be possibly effective in treating self-injurious behaviour in children and adolescents. Pharmacotherapy has not been tested as a treatment for adolescents who self-harmed.
A meta-analysis found that psychological therapy is effective in reducing self-harm. The proportion of the adolescents who self-harmed over the follow-up period was lower in the intervention groups (28%) than in controls (33%). Psychological therapies with the largest effect sizes were dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), and mentalization-based therapy (MBT).
In individuals with developmental disabilities, occurrence of self-harm is often demonstrated to be related to its effects on the environment, such as obtaining attention or desired materials or escaping demands. As developmentally disabled individuals often have communication or social deficits, self-harm may be their way of obtaining these things which they are otherwise unable to obtain in a socially appropriate way (such as by asking). One approach for treating self-harm thus is to teach an alternative, appropriate response which obtains the same result as the self-harm.
Generating alternative behaviours that the person can engage in instead of self-harm is one successful behavioural method that is employed to avoid self-harm. Techniques, aimed at keeping busy, may include journaling, taking a walk, participating in sports or exercise or being around friends when the person has the urge to harm themselves. The removal of objects used for self-harm from easy reach is also helpful for resisting self-harming urges. The provision of a card that allows the person to make emergency contact with counselling services should the urge to self-harm arise may also help prevent the act of self-harm. Alternative and safer methods of self-harm that do not lead to permanent damage, for example the snapping of a rubber band on the wrist, may also help calm the urge to self-harm.[failed verification] Using biofeedback may help raise self-awareness of certain pre-occupations or particular mental state or mood that precede bouts of self-harming behaviour, and help identify techniques to avoid those pre-occupations before they lead to self-harm. Any avoidance or coping strategy must be appropriate to the individual's motivation and reason for harming.
It is difficult to gain an accurate picture of incidence and prevalence of self-harm. This is due in a part to a lack of sufficient numbers of dedicated research centres to provide a continuous monitoring system. However, even with sufficient resources, statistical estimates are crude since most incidences of self-harm are undisclosed to the medical profession as acts of self-harm are frequently carried out in secret, and wounds may be superficial and easily treated by the individual. Recorded figures can be based on three sources: psychiatric samples, hospital admissions and general population surveys.
The World Health Organization estimates that, as of 2010, 880,000 deaths occur as a result of self-harm. About 10% of admissions to medical wards in the UK are as a result of self-harm, the majority of which are drug overdoses. However, studies based only on hospital admissions may hide the larger group of self-harmers who do not need or seek hospital treatment for their injuries, instead treating themselves. Many adolescents who present to general hospitals with deliberate self-harm report previous episodes for which they did not receive medical attention. In the United States up to 4% of adults self-harm with approximately 1% of the population engaging in chronic or severe self-harm.
Current research suggests that the rates of self-harm are much higher among young people with the average age of onset between 14 and 24. The earliest reported incidents of self-harm are in children between 5 and 7 years old. In the UK in 2008 rates of self-harm in young people could be as high as 33%. In addition there appears to be an increased risk of self-harm in college students than among the general population. In a study of undergraduate students in the US, 9.8% of the students surveyed indicated that they had purposefully cut or burned themselves on at least one occasion in the past. When the definition of self-harm was expanded to include head-banging, scratching oneself, and hitting oneself along with cutting and burning, 32% of the sample said they had done this. In Ireland, a study found that instances of hospital-treated self-harm were much higher in city and urban districts, than in rural settings. The CASE (Child & Adolescent Self-harm in Europe) study suggests that the life-time risk of self-injury is ~1:7 for women and ~1:25 for men.
In general, the latest aggregated research has found no difference in the prevalence of self-harm between men and women. This is in contrast to past research which indicated that up to four times as many females as males have direct experience of self-harm. However, caution is needed in seeing self-harm as a greater problem for females, since males may engage in different forms of self-harm (e.g., hitting themselves) which could be easier to hide or explained as the result of different circumstances. Hence, there remain widely opposing views as to whether the gender paradox is a real phenomenon, or merely the artifact of bias in data collection.
The WHO/EURO Multicentre Study of Suicide, established in 1989, demonstrated that, for each age group, the female rate of self-harm exceeded that of the males, with the highest rate among females in the 13–24 age group and the highest rate among males in the 12–34 age group. However, this discrepancy has been known to vary significantly depending upon population and methodological criteria, consistent with wide-ranging uncertainties in gathering and interpreting data regarding rates of self-harm in general. Such problems have sometimes been the focus of criticism in the context of broader psychosocial interpretation. For example, feminist author Barbara Brickman has speculated that reported gender differences in rates of self-harm are due to deliberate socially biased methodological and sampling errors, directly blaming medical discourse for pathologising the female.
This gender discrepancy is often distorted in specific populations where rates of self-harm are inordinately high, which may have implications on the significance and interpretation of psychosocial factors other than gender. A study in 2003 found an extremely high prevalence of self-harm among 428 homeless and runaway youths (aged 16–19) with 72% of males and 66% of females reporting a history of self-harm. However, in 2008, a study of young people and self-harm saw the gender gap widen in the opposite direction, with 32% of young females, and 22% of young males admitting to self-harm. Studies also indicate that males who self-harm may also be at a greater risk of completing suicide.
There does not appear to be a difference in motivation for self-harm in adolescent males and females. For example, for both genders there is an incremental increase in deliberate self-harm associated with an increase in consumption of cigarettes, drugs and alcohol. Triggering factors such as low self-esteem and having friends and family members who self-harm are also common between both males and females. One limited study found that, among those young individuals who do self-harm, both genders are just as equally likely to use the method of skin-cutting. However, females who self-cut are more likely than males to explain their self-harm episode by saying that they had wanted to punish themselves. In New Zealand, more females are hospitalised for intentional self-harm than males. Females more commonly choose methods such as self-poisoning that generally are not fatal, but still serious enough to require hospitalisation.
In a study of a district general hospital in the UK, 5.4% of all the hospital's self-harm cases were aged over 65. The male to female ratio was 2:3 although the self-harm rates for males and females over 65 in the local population were identical. Over 90% had depressive conditions, and 63% had significant physical illness. Under 10% of the patients gave a history of earlier self-harm, while both the repetition and suicide rates were very low, which could be explained by the absence of factors known to be associated with repetition, such as personality disorder and alcohol abuse. However, NICE Guidance on Self-harm in the UK suggests that older people who self-harm are at a greater risk of completing suicide, with 1 in 5 older people who self-harm going on to end their life. A study completed in Ireland showed that older Irish adults have high rates of deliberate self-harm, but comparatively low rates of suicide.
Only recently have attempts to improve health in the developing world concentrated on not only physical illness but also mental health. Deliberate self-harm is common in the developing world. Research into self-harm in the developing world is however still very limited although an important case study is that of Sri Lanka, which is a country exhibiting a high incidence of suicide and self-poisoning with agricultural pesticides or natural poisons. Many people admitted for deliberate self-poisoning during a study by Eddleston et al. were young and few expressed a desire to die, but death was relatively common in the young in these cases. The improvement of medical management of acute poisoning in the developing world is poor and improvements are required in order to reduce mortality.
Some of the causes of deliberate self-poisoning in Sri Lankan adolescents included bereavement and harsh discipline by parents. The coping mechanisms are being spread in local communities as people are surrounded by others who have previously deliberately harmed themselves or attempted suicide. One way of reducing self-harm would be to limit access to poisons; however many cases involve pesticides or yellow oleander seeds, and the reduction of access to these agents would be difficult. Great potential for the reduction of self-harm lies in education and prevention, but limited resources in the developing world make these methods challenging.
Deliberate self-harm is especially prevalent in prison populations. A proposed explanation for this is that prisons are often violent places, and prisoners who wish to avoid physical confrontations may resort to self-harm as a ruse, either to convince other prisoners that they are dangerously insane and resilient to pain or to obtain protection from the prison authorities. Self-harm also occurs frequently in inmates who are placed in solitary confinement.
Self-harm was, and in some cases continues to be, a ritual practice in many cultures and religions.
The Maya priesthood performed auto-sacrifice by cutting and piercing their bodies in order to draw blood. A reference to the priests of Baal "cutting themselves with blades until blood flowed" can be found in the Hebrew Bible. However, in Judaism, such self-harm is forbidden under Mosaic law. It occurred in ancient Canaanite mourning rituals, as described in the Ras Shamra tablets.
Self-harm is practised in Hinduism by the ascetics known as sadhus. In Catholicism it is known as mortification of the flesh. Some branches of Islam mark the Day of Ashura, the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, with a ritual of self-flagellation, using chains and swords.
Dueling scars such as those acquired through academic fencing at certain traditional German universities are an early example of scarification in European society. Sometimes, students who did not fence would scar themselves with razors in imitation.
Constance Lytton, a prominent suffragette, used a stint in Holloway Prison during March 1909 to mutilate her body. Her plan was to carve 'Votes for Women' from her breast to her cheek, so that it would always be visible. But after completing the "V" on her breast and ribs she requested sterile dressings to avoid blood poisoning, and her plan was aborted by the authorities. She wrote of this in her memoir Prisons and Prisoners.
Kikuyu girls cut each other's vulvas in the 1950s as a symbol of defiance, in the context of the campaign against female genital mutilation in colonial Kenya. The movement came to be known as Ngaitana ("I will circumcise myself"), because to avoid naming their friends the girls said they had cut themselves. Historian Lynn Thomas described the episode as significant in the history of FGM because it made clear that its victims were also its perpetrators.
The term "self-mutilation" occurred in a study by L. E. Emerson in 1913 where he considered self-cutting a symbolic substitution for masturbation. The term reappeared in an article in 1935 and a book in 1938 when Karl Menninger refined his conceptual definitions of self-mutilation. His study on self-destructiveness differentiated between suicidal behaviours and self-mutilation. For Menninger, self-mutilation was a non-fatal expression of an attenuated death wish and thus coined the term partial suicide. He began a classification system of six types:
- neurotic – nail-biters, pickers, extreme hair removal and unnecessary cosmetic surgery.
- religious – self-flagellants and others.
- puberty rites – hymen removal, circumcision or clitoral alteration.
- psychotic – eye or ear removal, genital self-mutilation and extreme amputation
- organic brain diseases – which allow repetitive head-banging, hand-biting, finger-fracturing or eye removal.
- conventional – nail-clipping, trimming of hair and shaving beards.
Pao (1969) differentiated between delicate (low lethality) and coarse (high lethality) self-mutilators who cut. The "delicate" cutters were young, multiple episodic of superficial cuts and generally had borderline personality disorder diagnosis. The "coarse" cutters were older and generally psychotic. Ross and McKay (1979) categorized self-mutilators into 9 groups: cutting, biting, abrading, severing, inserting, burning, ingesting or inhaling, hitting, and constricting.
Walsh and Rosen (1988) created four categories numbered by Roman numerals I–IV, defining Self-mutilation as rows II, III and IV.
|Classification||Examples of Behaviour||Degree of Physical Damage||Psychological State||Social Acceptability|
|I||Ear-piercing, nail-biting, small tattoos, cosmetic surgery (not considered self-harm by the majority of the population)||Superficial to mild||Benign||Mostly accepted|
|II||Piercings, saber scars, ritualistic clan scarring, sailor and gang tattoos, minor wound-excoriation, trichotillomania||Mild to moderate||Benign to agitated||Subculture acceptance|
|III||Wrist- or body-cutting, self-inflicted cigarette burns and tattoos, major wound-excoriation||Mild to moderate||Psychic crisis||Accepted by some subgroups but not by the general population|
|IV||Auto-castration, self-enucleation, amputation||Severe||Psychotic decompensation||Unacceptable|
Favazza and Rosenthal (1993) reviewed hundreds of studies and divided self-mutilation into two categories: culturally sanctioned self-mutilation and deviant self-mutilation. Favazza also created two subcategories of sanctioned self-mutilations; rituals and practices. The rituals are mutilations repeated generationally and "reflect the traditions, symbolism, and beliefs of a society" (p. 226). Practices are historically transient and cosmetic such as piercing of earlobes, nose, eyebrows as well as male circumcision (for non-Jews) while Deviant self-mutilation is equivalent to self-harm.
Adolescents and digital self-harm
Digital self-harm, which according to Justin W. Patchin and Sameer Hinduja is "the anonymous online posting, sending, or otherwise sharing of hurtful content about oneself", is an increasingly prevalent form of self-harm in the modern day and age for adolescents. Self-hate is highly prevalent in the adolescent stages. Through recent years, social media has grown and most adolescents now confront their feelings, whether about themselves or about others, online. The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine published a nationally representative survey of 5,593 middle and high school students (12 to 17 years old) obtained in 2016. The study was led by Justin W. Patchin, PhD and Sameer Hinduja, PhD. Their study, "Digital Self-Harm Among Adolescents" revealed that 6 percent of students say they have cyberbullied themselves. The study also found that males were significantly more likely to report digital self-harm than females, with 7.1 percent for males compared with 5.3 percent for females. The study found correlations between digital self-harm and factors such as sexual orientation, prior experience with bullying, drug use, and depressive symptoms. 
Awareness and opposition
There are many movements among the general self-harm community to make self-harm itself and treatment better known to mental health professionals, as well as the general public. For example, March 1 is designated as Self-injury Awareness Day (SIAD) around the world. On this day, some people choose to be more open about their own self-harm, and awareness organizations make special efforts to raise awareness about self-harm. 
Self-harm in non-human mammals is a well-established but not widely known phenomenon. Its study under zoo or laboratory conditions could lead to a better understanding of self-harm in human patients.
Zoo or laboratory rearing and isolation are important factors leading to increased susceptibility to self-harm in higher mammals, e.g., macaque monkeys. Non-primate mammals are also known to mutilate themselves under laboratory conditions after administration of drugs. For example, pemoline, clonidine, amphetamine, and very high (toxic) doses of caffeine or theophylline are known to precipitate self-harm in lab animals.
In dogs, canine obsessive-compulsive disorder can lead to self-inflicted injuries, for example canine lick granuloma. Captive birds are sometimes known to engage in feather-plucking, causing damage to feathers that can range from feather shredding to the removal of most or all feathers within the bird's reach, or even the mutilation of skin or muscle tissue.
Breeders of show mice have noticed similar behaviours. One known as "barbering" involves a mouse obsessively grooming the whiskers and facial fur off of themselves and cage-mates. Other behaviours include scratching ears so severely that large sections are lost.
Lick granuloma from excessive licking
- Laye-Gindhu, A.; Schonert-Reichl, Kimberly A. (2005), "Nonsuicidal Self-Harm Among Community Adolescents: Understanding the "Whats" and "Whys" of Self-Harm", Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 34 (5): 447–457, doi:10.1007/s10964-005-7262-z
- Klonsky, D. (2007), "The functions of deliberate self-injury: A review of the evidence", Clinical Psychological Review, 27 (2): 226–239, doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2006.08.002, PMID 17014942
- Muehlenkamp, J. J. (2005), "Self-Injurious Behavior as a Separate Clinical Syndrome", American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 75 (2): 324–333, doi:10.1037/0002-9422.214.171.1244, PMID 15839768
- Groschwitz, Rebecca C.; Plener, Paul L. "The Neurobiology of Non-suicidal Self-injury (NSSI) : A review" (PDF). Suicidology Online. 3: 24–32. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
- Davis, Jeanie Lerche. "Cutting and Self-Harm: Warning Signs and Treatment". WebMD. Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. "Self-injury/cutting". Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Retrieved 14 April 2018.
- Skegg, K. (2005), "Self-harm", The Lancet, 366 (9495): 1471–1483, doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(05)67600-3, PMID 16243093
- Truth Hurts Report, Mental Health Foundation, 2006, ISBN 978-1-903645-81-9, retrieved 2008-06-11
- Klonsky, E. D. (2007), "Non-Suicidal Self-Injury: An Introduction", Journal of Clinical Psychology, 63 (11): 1039–1043, doi:10.1002/jclp.20411, PMID 17932979
- Farber, S.; et al. (2007), "Death and annihilation anxieties in anorexia nervosa, bulimia, and self-mutilation", Psychoanalytic Psychology, 24 (2): 289–305, doi:10.1037/0736-97126.96.36.1999
- Hawton K., Zahl D. and Weatherall, R. (2003), "Suicide following deliberate self-harm: long-term follow-up of patients who presented to a general hospital", British Journal of Psychiatry, 182 (6): 537–542, doi:10.1192/bjp.182.6.537, PMID 12777346CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Fox, C; Hawton, K (2004), Deliberate Self-Harm in Adolescence, London: Jessica Kingsley, ISBN 978-1-84310-237-3
- Suyemoto, K. L. (1998), "The functions of self-mutilation", Clinical Psychology Review, 18 (5): 531–554, doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(97)00105-0, PMID 9740977
- Swales, M., Pain and deliberate self-harm, The Welcome Trust, archived from the original on 2008-09-16, retrieved 2008-05-26
- See Impression formation.
- Meltzer, Howard; et al. (2000), Non Fatal Suicidal Behaviour Among Adults aged 16 to 74, Great Britain: The Stationery office, ISBN 978-0-11-621548-2
- Rea, K., Aiken, F., and Borastero, C. (1997), "Building Therapeutic Staff: Client Relationships with Women who Self-Harm", Women's Health Issues, 7 (2): 121–125, doi:10.1016/S1049-3867(96)00112-0, PMID 9071885CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Klonsky, E. D.; Glenn, C. R. (2008), "Resisting Urges to Self-Injure", Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 36 (2): 211–220, doi:10.1017/S1352465808004128, PMC 5841247, PMID 29527120
- Schmidtke A; et al. (1996), "Attempted suicide in Europe: rates, trends and sociodemographic characteristics of suicide attempters during the period 1989–1992", Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 93 (5): 327–338, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1996.tb10656.x, PMID 8792901
- National Institute for Clinical Excellence (2004), National Clinical Practice Guideline Number 16: Self-harm (PDF), The British Psychological Society, retrieved 2009-12-13
- Hawton, Keith; Saunders, Kate; O'Connor, Rory (2012). "Self-harm and suicide in adolescents". The Lancet. 379 (9834): 2373–2382. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60322-5. PMID 22726518.
- Thomas B; Hardy S; Cutting P (1997), Stuart and Sundeen's mental health nursing: principles and practice, Elsevier Health Sciences, p. 343, ISBN 978-0-7234-2590-8
- Pierce, D. (1987), "Deliberate self-harm in the elderly", International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2 (2): 105–110, doi:10.1002/gps.930020208
- Jones I. H.; Barraclough B. M. (2007), "Auto-mutilation in animals and its relevance to self-injury in man", Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 58 (1): 40–47, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0447.1978.tb06918.x, PMID 99981
- Self Injury Awareness Book, S. l.: FirstSigns, 2007, ISBN 978-0-9555506-0-7, archived from the original on 2008-09-23, retrieved 2008-05-26
- Duffy, M., Example of Self-inflicted wounds in World War I, retrieved 2008-05-26
- Spartacus Educational, Reasons for Self inflicted wounds, archived from the original on 2008-05-22, retrieved 2008-05-26
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition: DSM-5. APA. May 27, 2013. p. 803. ISBN 978-0890425558.
- "Medscape: Medscape Access". medscape.com.
- Helen Spandler (1996), Who's Hurting Who? Young people, self-harm and suicide, Manchester: 42nd Street, ISBN 978-1-900782-00-5
- Pembroke, L. R. (ed.) (1994), Self-harm – Perspectives from personal experience, Chipmunka/Survivors Speak Out, ISBN 978-1-904697-04-6CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Iwata, B. A.; et al. (1994), "Toward a functional analysis of self-injury", Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 27 (2): 197–209, doi:10.1901/jaba.1994.27-197, PMC 1297798, PMID 8063622
- Claveirole, Anne; Martin Gaughan (2011), Understanding Children and Young People's Mental Health, West Sussex, UK: John Wiley & Sons, p. 75, ISBN 978-0-470-72345-6, retrieved 9 February 2011
- Greydanus DE, Shek D (September 2009), "Deliberate self-harm and suicide in adolescents" (PDF), Keio J Med, 58 (3): 144–151, doi:10.2302/kjm.58.144, PMID 19826208
- What self-injury is, LifeSIGNS, retrieved 2012-10-05
- Hodgson, Sarah (2004), "Cutting Through the Silence: A Sociological Construction of Self-Injury", Sociological Inquiry, 74 (2): 162–179, doi:10.1111/j.1475-682X.2004.00085.x
- Mayo Clinic Staff (2017) Self Injury/Cutting (online). Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/self-injury/symptoms-causes/syc-20350950 Accessed on 15 November 2017.
- Johnson CP, Myers SM, Council on Children with Disabilities. Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics. 2007;120(5):1183–1215. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-2361. PMID 17967920.
- Dominick KC, Davis NO, Lainhart J, Tager-Flusberg H, Folstein S. Atypical behaviors in children with autism and children with a history of language impairment. Res Dev Disabil. 2007;28(2):145–162. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2006.02.003. PMID 16581226.
- Joyce PR, Light KJ, Rowe SL, Cloninger CR, Kennedy MA (2010), "Self-mutilation and suicide attempts: relationships to bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, temperament and character", Aust N Z J Psychiatry, 44 (3): 250–257, doi:10.3109/00048670903487159, PMID 20180727
- Hawton, K., Kingsbury, S., Steinhardt, K., James, A., and Fagg, J. (1999), "Repetition of deliberate self-harm by adolescents: the role of psychological factors", Journal of Adolescence, 22 (3): 369–378, doi:10.1006/jado.1999.0228, PMID 10462427CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Wessely; Akhurst, R; Brown, I; Moss, L; et al. (1996), "Deliberate self-harm and the probation service: An overlooked public health problem?", Journal of Public Health Medicine, 18 (2): 129–132, doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.pubmed.a024471, PMID 8816309
- Gelder, M. et al. (2005). Psychiatry. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 171.
- Humphries, S. R. (1988), "Munchausen Syndrome: Motives and the Relation to Deliberate Self-Harm", British Journal of Psychiatry, 152 (3): 416–417, doi:10.1192/bjp.152.3.416, PMID 3167380
- Strong, M. (1999), A Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of Pain, Penguin (non-classics), ISBN 978-0-14-028053-1
- BBC news (2004-12-06), Self-harm, British Broadcasting Corporation, retrieved 2010-01-04
- BBC news (1998-07-10), "Third World faces self-harm epidemic", BBC News, retrieved 2008-05-26
- Fikette, L. (2005), The deportation machine: unmonitored and unimpeded, Institute of Race Relations, archived from the original on 2008-03-03, retrieved 2008-04-26
- Antai-Otong, D. 2008. Psychiatric Nursing: Biological and Behavioral Concepts. 2nd edition. Canada: Thompson Delmar Learning
- Urnes, O (Apr 30, 2009). "[Self-harm and personality disorders]". Tidsskrift for den Norske Laegeforening : Tidsskrift for Praktisk Medicin, NY Raekke. 129 (9): 872–876. doi:10.4045/tidsskr.08.0140. PMID 19415088.
- Genetics Home Reference, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, U. S. National Library of Medicine, retrieved 2010-01-13
- National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (2007). "Drug misuse and dependence – UK guidelines on clinical management" (PDF). United Kingdom: Department of Health. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-11.
- Bell M, O'Doherty E, O'Carroll A, McAnaney B, Graber S, McGale B, Hutchinson D, Moran P, Bonner B, O'Hagan D, Arensman E, Reulbach U, Corcoran P, Hawton K (21 January 2010), "Northern Ireland Registry of Deliberate Self-Harm Western Area, Two year report. January 1st 2007–31 December 2008" (PDF), Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland: CAWT, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2011
- Rossow, I.; Hawton, K.; Ystgaard, M. (2009). "Cannabis Use and Deliberate Self-Harm in Adolescence: A Comparative Analysis of Associations in England and Norway". Archives of Suicide Research. 13 (4): 340–348. doi:10.1080/13811110903266475. PMID 19813111.
- Cutter, D., Jaffe, J. and Segal, J. (2008), Self-Injury: Types, Causes and Treatment, HELPGUIDE.org, archived from the original on 2008-05-11, retrieved 2008-05-26CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Hawton, K., Cole, D., O'Grady, J., Osborn, M. (1982), "Motivational Aspects of Deliberate Self Poisoning in Adolescents", British Journal of Psychiatry, 141 (3): 286–291, doi:10.1192/bjp.141.3.286, PMID 7139213CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Myths about self harm, Harmless, retrieved 2009-12-13
- Precursors to Self Injury, LifeSIGNS, retrieved 2012-10-05
- Nixon, M. K.; et al. (2002), "Affect Regulation and Addictive Aspects of Repetitive Self-Injury in Hospitalized Adolescents", Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 41 (11): 1333–1341, doi:10.1097/00004583-200211000-00015
- Kross E, Berman MG, Mischel W, Smith EE, Wager TD (2011), "Social rejection shares somatosensory representations with physical pain", Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108 (15): 6270–6275, doi:10.1073/pnas.1102693108, PMC 3076808, PMID 21444827
- Porges Stephen W (2001), "The polyvagal theory: Phylogenetic substrates of a social nervous system", International Journal of Psychophysiology, 42 (2): 123–146, doi:10.1016/s0167-8760(01)00162-3
- Crowell Sheila E (2005), "Psychological, physiological, and serotonergic correlates of parasuicidal behavior among adolescent girls", Development and Psychopathology, 17 (4): 1105–1127, doi:10.1017/s0954579405050522
- Nock MK, Mendes WB (2008), "Physiological arousal, distress tolerance, and social problem-solving deficits among adolescent self-injurers", Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76 (1): 28–38, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.506.4280, doi:10.1037/0022-006x.76.1.28, PMID 18229980
- Hawton, K.; et al. (1998), "Deliberate self harm: systematic review of efficacy of psychosocial and pharmacological treatments in preventing repetition", British Medical Journal, 317 (7156): 441–447, doi:10.1136/bmj.317.7156.441, PMC 28637, PMID 9703526
- "Self-harm | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness". www.nami.org. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
- Hawton, K; Witt, KG; Taylor Salisbury, TL; Arensman, E; Gunnell, D; Hazell, P; Townsend, E; van Heeringen, K (6 July 2015). "Pharmacological interventions for self-harm in adults" (PDF). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 7 (7): CD011777. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011777. hdl:10536/DRO/DU:30080508. PMID 26147958.
- Glenn, CR; Franklin, JC; Nock, MK (2015). "Evidence-based psychosocial treatments for self-injurious thoughts and behaviors in youth". Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. 44 (1): 1–29. doi:10.1080/15374416.2014.945211. PMC 4557625. PMID 25256034.
- American Self-Harm Information Clearinghouse, Self-help – how do I stop right now?, archived from the original on 2001-12-16, retrieved 2008-04-26
- Ougrin D, Tranah T, Leigh E, Taylor L, Asarnow JR (April 2012). "Practitioner review: Self-harm in adolescents". Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and Allied Disciplines. 53 (4): 337–50. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2012.02525.x. PMID 22329807.
- Ougrin, Dennis; Tranah, Troy; Stahl, Daniel; Moran, Paul; Asarnow, Joan Rosenbaum (2015). "Therapeutic Interventions for Suicide Attempts and Self-Harm in Adolescents: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis". Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 54 (2): 97–107. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2014.10.009. PMID 25617250.
- Bird, F.; et al. (1989), "Reducing severe aggressive and self-injurious behaviors with functional communication training", American Journal on Mental Retardation, 94 (1): 37–48, PMID 2751890
- Carr, E. G., & Durand, V. M. (1985), "Reducing behavior problems through functional communication training", Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 18 (2): 111–126, doi:10.1901/jaba.1985.18-111, PMC 1307999, PMID 2410400CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Sigafoos, J.; Meikle, B (1996), "Functional Communication Training for the Treatment of Multiply Determined Challenging Behavior in Two Boys with Autism", Behavior Modification, 20 (1): 60–84, doi:10.1177/01454455960201003, PMID 8561770
- Muehlenkamp, J. J. (2006), "Empirically supported treatments and general therapy guidelines for non-suicidal self-injury", Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 28 (2): 166–185, CiteSeerX 10.1.1.666.6159, doi:10.17744/mehc.28.2.6w61cut2lxjdg3m7
- Biofeedback, FingerFreak.com, retrieved 2009-06-02
- Self harm – Towards Hope and Recovery, Harmless, retrieved 2009-12-13[permanent dead link]
- Bowen, A. C. L; John, A. M. H (2001), "Gender differences in presentation and conceptualization of adolescent self-injurious behaviour: implications for therapeutic practice", Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 14 (4): 357–379, doi:10.1080/09515070110100956
- Rodham, K.; et al. (2005), "Deliberate Self-Harm in Adolescents: the Importance of Gender", Psychiatric Times, 22 (1)
- Lozano, R (Dec 15, 2012). "Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010". Lancet. 380 (9859): 2095–2128. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61728-0. hdl:10536/DRO/DU:30050819. PMID 23245604.
- Kerr, P. L., Muehlenkamp, J. J. and Turner, J. M. (2010), "Nonsuicidal Self-Injury: A Review of Current Research for Family Medicine and Primary Care Physicians", The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 23 (2): 240–259, doi:10.3122/jabfm.2010.02.090110, PMID 20207935CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- New survey reveals almost one in three young females have tried to self-harm (PDF), Affinity Healthcare, 2008, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-12-01, retrieved 2009-12-13
- Vanderhoff, H.; Lynn, S. J. (2001), "The assessment of self-mutilation: Issues and clinical considerations", Journal of Threat Assessment, 1: 91–109, doi:10.1300/J177v01n01_07
- Corcoran, P.; Reulbach, U.; Perry, I. J.; Arensman, E. (2010). "Suicide and deliberate self harm in older Irish adults". International Psychogeriatrics. 22 (8): 1327–1336. doi:10.1017/S1041610210001377. PMID 20716390.
- Madge; et al. (2008). "Deliberate self-harm within an international community sample of young people: comparative findings from the Child & Adolescent Self-harm in Europe (CASE) Study". Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 49 (6): 667–677. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01879.x. PMID 18341543.
- O'Brien, A., Women and Parasuicide: a Literature Review, Women's Health Council, archived from the original on April 28, 2008, retrieved 2008-05-26
- Brickman, Barbara Jane (2004), "'Delicate' Cutters: Gendered Self-mutilation and Attractive Flesh in Medical Discourse", Body and Society, 10 (4): 87–111, doi:10.1177/1357034X04047857
- Tyler, Kimberly A., Les B. Whitbeck, Dan R. Hoyt, and Kurt D. Johnson (2003), "Self Mutilation and Homeless Youth: The Role of Family Abuse, Street Experiences, and Mental Disorders", Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13 (4): 457–474, doi:10.1046/j.1532-7795.2003.01304003.xCS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Marchetto, M. J. (September 2006), "Repetitive skin-cutting: Parental bonding, personality and gender", Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice, 79 (3): 445–459(15), doi:10.1348/147608305X69795, PMID 16945201
- Hospitalisation for intentional self-harm, New Zealand Health Information Service, archived from the original on October 15, 2008, retrieved 2008-05-03
- Eddleston, M.; et al. (1998), "Deliberate self-harm in Sri Lanka: an overlooked tragedy in the developing world", British Medical Journal, 317 (7151): 133–135, doi:10.1136/bmj.317.7151.133, PMC 1113497, PMID 9657795
- Ministry of Health. Annual health bulletin, Sri Lanka, 1995. Colombo, Sri Lanka: Ministry of Health (1997)
- Diego Gambetta. Codes of the Underworld. Princeton. ISBN 978-0-691-11937-3
- Kaba, Fatos; et al. (March 2014). "Solitary Confinement and Risk of Self-Harm Among Jail Inmates". American Journal of Public Health. 104 (3): 442–447. doi:10.2105/ajph.2013.301742. PMC 3953781. PMID 24521238.
- Gualberto, A. (1991), An Overview of the Maya World, Produccion Editorial Dante, pp. 207–208, ISBN 978-968-7232-19-5
- 1 Kings 18:28
- Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Khovel u-Mazik ch. 5, etc. See also Damages (Jewish law).
- Zabeeh I, Ashura observed with blood streams to mark Karbala tragedy, Jafariya news, retrieved 2011-09-04
- DeMello, Margo (2007). Encyclopedia of body adornment Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 237. ISBN 978-0-313-33695-9.
- BBC, Victoria's Sisters by Simon Schama, Lady Lytton's self mutilation gesture for 'Votes'
- Thomas 2000, 129–131 (131 for the girls as "central actors"); Lynn Thomas, Politics of the Womb: Women, Reproduction, and the State in Kenya, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003, 89–91.
Also see Lynn M. Thomas, "'Ngaitana (I will circumcise myself)': The Gender and Generational Politics of the 1956 Ban on Clitoridectomy in Meru, Kenya"], Gender and History, 8(3), November 1996, 338–363. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0424.1996.tb00062.x
- Emerson, L. E. (1913), "The case of Miss A: A preliminary report of a psychoanalysis study and treatment of a case of self-mutilation", Psychoanalytic Review, William A. White, MD & Smith Ely Jelliffe, MD, pp. 41–54, retrieved 2009-06-15
- Menninger, K. (1935), "A psychoanalytic study of the significance of self-mutilation", Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 4 (3): 408–466, doi:10.1080/21674086.1935.11925248
- Pao, P. N. (1969), "The Syndrome of Delicate Self-cutting", British Journal of Medical Psychology Vol. 42, pp. 195–206
- Ross, R. R., & McKay, H. B. (1979), Self-Mutilation, Lexington Books, ISBN 978-0-669-02116-5, retrieved 2011-03-12CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Dominique E. Roe-Sepowitz (2005), Indicators of Self-Mutilation: Youth in Custody (PDF), The Florida State University College of Social Work, pp. 8–10, 77–88, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-25, retrieved 2009-06-15
- Walsh, B. W., & Rosen, P. M. (1988), Self Mutilation: Theory, Research and Treatment, Guilford. of N..Y, NY., ISBN 978-0-89862-731-2CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Favazza, A. R., & Rosenthal, R. J. (1993), "Diagnostic issues in self-mutilation", Hospital and Community Psychiatry, 44 (2): 134–140, doi:10.1176/ps.44.2.134, PMID 8432496CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
- Favazza, A. R. (1996), Bodies Under Siege, 2nd ed, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press., ISBN 978-0-8018-5300-5, retrieved 2009-06-22
- Patchin, Justin W.; Hinduja, Sameer (December 2017). "Digital Self-Harm Among Adolescents". Journal of Adolescent Health. 61 (6): 761–766. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.06.012. ISSN 1054-139X. PMID 28935385.
- Self injury awareness day, LifeSIGNS, retrieved 2012-05-10
- LifeSIGNS web pages, LifeSIGNS, retrieved 2012-05-10
- Mueller K.; Nyhan W. L. (1983), "Clonidine potentiates drug induced self-injurious behavior in rats", Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 18 (6): 891–894, doi:10.1016/S0091-3057(83)80011-2, PMID 6684300
- Kies S. D.; Devine D. P. (2004), "Self-injurious behaviour: a comparison of caffeine and pemoline models in rats", Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior, 79 (4): 587–598, doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2004.09.010, PMID 15582667
- "Feather Plucking in Pet Birds". Beauty Of Birds.
- "Feather Damaging Behavior - FDB". birdchannel.com. Archived from the original on 2008-10-22.
- "Parrots' behaviors mirror human mental disorders". purdue.edu.
- Kalueff, A.V.; Minasyan, A.; Keisala, T.; Shah, Z.H.; Tuohimaa, P. (2006). "Hair barbering in mice: Implications for neurobehavioural research". Behavioural Processes. 71 (1): 8–15. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2005.09.004. PMID 16236465.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Self harm.|