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Entries in Self-Injury (3)

Monday
Jun112012

Self-Injury Reported in Children as Young as 7

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(DENVER) -- Self-harm practices such as cutting and hitting can begin in children as young as age 7, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Research suggests that many adolescents and adults engage in self-injury as a means to self-medicate for stress and depression.  But findings from this study now warn to look out for these behaviors as early as elementary school.

"For a parent, for a teacher and for a medical professional, part of the message is to recognize that kids at younger ages are harming themselves," said Benjamin Hankin, associate professor of psychology at University of Denver in Colorado.  "There's this view that only older kids do this, but parents should pay attention to the emotion and behavior problems earlier."

Hankin and his colleagues interviewed 665 children in third, sixth, and ninth grades.  Nearly 8 percent of the children reported at least one attempt to harm themselves, the study found.

More specifically, nearly 8 percent of the third graders interviewed reported at least one attempt at self-harm.

Some of the signs to look for in younger children include extreme frustration that can lead to incidents such as hitting their heads against the wall, Hankin said.

"The signs and what you're looking for can change based on age and gender of the kid," he said.

Girls were three times more likely to self-injure than boys once they reached the ninth grade, the study found.  Girls reported more cutting and carving of skin, while boys were more likely to report hitting themselves.  Hankin warned parents to be aware of the risks of self-injury in earlier childhood.

"An important thing for parents is to follow their gut instinct," he said.  "If you think your child is experiencing emotional pain, then ask."

"Sometimes they may deny it, but parents shouldn't shrug it off," said Hankin.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov172011

Study: 1 in 12 Teens Deliberately Cut, Hurt Themselves

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- At age 14 or 15, a perfect storm of surging hormones, immature brains and unfamiliar emotions drive nearly one in 12 teens to deliberately hurt themselves, most often by cutting or burning their own flesh, or by trying to hang, electrocute, drown or suffocate themselves.

"The window of vulnerability for this experience of self-harm appears to open at around puberty," said Dr. Paul Moran, co-author of a study about self-harm published online Wednesday in The Lancet.

Teens, he said, may hurt themselves to block out emotions "they feel to be intolerable."  At particular risk, he said, were teens "on a fast-track to adulthood, those kids who are at the margins at school, who are engaged in early sexual activities, who are using alcohol and drugs at a young age."

Families, educators and even self-injuring youngsters may be relieved to hear that in 90 percent of cases, these frightening, aberrant practices resolve on their own, said Dr. Niall Boyce, a psychiatrist and senior editor of The Lancet.

Moran, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, and co-author Dr. George C. Patton, from the Center for Adolescent Health at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia, said they believed theirs was the first large study to trace "the natural history" of self-harming behavior from its onset in puberty through young adulthood.  They pointed out that self-inflicted deaths, including suicides, rise sharply during that same period.

The study's researchers studied a random group of nearly 2,000 school children, ages 14 and 15, in the Australian state of Victoria, from August 1992 through January 2008.  Over the course of those 15 years, and on as many as nine occasions, the students answered questions to assess if, and how often, they'd engaged in self-harm.

Moran said their answers, and the years of observing them, yielded several important insights:

-- Self-harm is common, reported by about 8 percent of 14- to 19-year-olds.

-- At every stage, more girls reported self-harm than boys.

-- Those who cut, burned or otherwise deliberately hurt themselves were more likely to be seriously depressed or anxious, and to report smoking, drinking or abusing drugs.  Similarly, a small subgroup of students who began hurting themselves as young adults were more likely to report having been depressed or anxious as teenagers.

-- The proportion of young men and women reporting self-harm substantially declined as they aged.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct082010

Eating Disorders and Self-Injury Linked According to Study

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(STANFORD, Calif.) -- A study published in the latest edition of the Journal of Adolescent Health has found a link in adolescents between eating disorders and non-lethal, self-injurious behaviors like cutting and burning. It also found that in most cases, clinicians didn't screen for such behaviors.

"Self-injurious behaviors have been shown to be common in adults with eating disorders and in adolescents with bulimia in small studies," said study author Dr. Rebecka Peebles, formerly an instructor at the Stanford University School of Medicine and now an assistant professor at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine reviewed the medical records of nearly 1,500 patients between the ages of 10 and 21 who were diagnosed with an eating disorder at an eating disorder clinic over a 14-month period. Only about 42 percent of them had documentation that they were screened for self-injurious behaviors when they were first seen at the clinic. Of those who had screening documentation, nearly 41 percent admitted to cutting or burning themselves.

The study suggested eating disorders and behaviors like cutting are linked, and also that people with eating disorders need to be more carefully screened for such behaviors.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio