Repetitive self-harm : viewing self-harm repetition as an addicitve behaviour

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Hogan, Denise
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MA in Addiction Studies
Dublin Business School
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Objectives: Within an Irish context the field of health care may benefit from changing the present views which surround self-harm behaviours. By viewing self-harming behaviours as an addictive behaviour it may place emphasis on the health care system to encourage change. The health care system may seek to develop a more effective and efficient treatment method. Design: This study is of qualitative design. It is based on applied qualitative research. Methods: The method of criterion sampling was used. The participants included both female and male Consultant Psychiatrists and one male Senior Registrar. For this study there were a total of seven Consultant Psychiatrists and one male Senior Registrar. One focus group was help and a further four one-to-one interviews. A case history was also utilised, this was produced by use of medical charts. Results: Participants were asked to comment on areas which include: self-induced pain and instinctually-induced pain; communication; protective barrier; healthcare system; treatment options. The participants had both mixed opinions and at times similar perspectives on the areas discussed. It was generally agreed that specific training or treatment approach would benefit those repetitively presenting with self-harming behaviours. The case history detail a subjects; background and adolescent years; adulthood; accident and emergency and psychiatric care; present treatment plan. Conclusion: Within the present day no guidelines or criteria have been detailed regarding self-harm behaviour. What makes repetitive self-harm behaviours differ from other addictive behaviours? It has been clearly documented that the present treatment methods and options are inappropriate and ineffective in helping self-harmers recover and change.