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Understanding and Treating Self-Injurious Behavior  

Author:  Dr. Luis  Javier Rodríguez-Ramos, PsyD, CCHP.; Dr. Mayela  Llaurador-Castillo, PhD, CCHP.; Dr. Myrta N.  Sifonte-Rodriguez, MD.; Dr. Begoña  Rivera-Alonso, PhD.

Source: Volume 13, Number 02, January/February 2012 , pp.17-22(6)

Correctional Health Care Report

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One to two million people in the United States intentionally and repeatedly bruise, cut, burn, mark, scratch, or mutilate different parts of their own bodies. This estimate represents only the adolescents and adults who actually seek help for this behavior. Because the wounds infl icted are not intended to be life threatening and often do not require medical attention, they are frequently dismissed as accidental. Clinicians and researchers believe that many people engage in acts of self-infl icted violence that are never treated or included in mental health statistics. However, in recent years the number of people, including younger and older adolescents and adults who engage in SIB seems to have grown dramatically. SIB is occurring in many settings, including inpatient units, outpatient settings, colleges and universities, and within the general public.

Keywords: self-mutilation, precursors, hyperstress, dissociation, suicide, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy, functional models

Affiliations:  1: Puerto Rico’s Correctional Psychiatric Hospital; 2: Correctional Psychiatric Hospital; 3: Correctional Psychiatric Hospital; 4: Correctional Health Services Corporation.

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