Mental Health Clinicians' Views on Superficial Self-mutilation in the DSM-IV-TR

Thomas Michaels (2009)

Self-mutilation is a phenomenon that affects a significant percentage of the teenage and adult population. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM-IV-TR) includes self-mutilation as a symptom under the diagnoses of Borderline Personality Disorder, Stereotypic Movement Disorder, and Impulse Control Disorder. In the current project, I surveyed mental health practitioners, primarily in outpatient settings, and found that superficial self-mutilation was present most commonly in clients with anxiety disorders and mood disorders. The discussion includes a consideration of the relationship of self-mutilation to different types of trauma, developmental issues, and recommendations for diagnostic revision in the DSM.