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Self-Harm as Self-Cutting: Inpatients and Internal Tension

  • Chris Millard
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Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)

Abstract

At the start of the 1970s, the number of people recorded as ‘self-poisoning as communication’ is still rising. Typical is a 1972 report from Dunfermline that claims acute ‘poisoning has reached epidemic proportions … [t]he number of poisoned patients increases year by year and there is no evidence that the trend is altering’.1 In the same year, a bleak study issues from Sheffield, entitled ‘Self-Poisoning with Drugs: A Worsening Situation’. This study claims that the rate of self-poisoning in Sheffield has doubled in the last decade and now accounts for almost one in ten medical admissions and one in five emergencies. Studies from Edinburgh, Oxford and Cardiff are cited as nationwide support for these truly alarming statistics.2 By the late 1970s however, it is reported from the Edinburgh RPTC that rates of self-poisoning are falling for men and levelling off for women. Keith Hawton and colleagues in Oxford report five years later that overall ‘the recent epidemic of deliberate self-poisoning may have reached a peak’ around 1973.3 Work on this phenomenon of self-poisoning, parasuicide or overdosing continues throughout the decade; clinicians marvel at the seemingly endless increase, and then wonder at the abrupt levelling-off. There are three major research centres for these studies: in Edinburgh, at the MRC Unit and Ward 3 of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh; in Bristol, at the Accident Emergency Department of the Bristol Royal Infirmary; and in Oxford at the John Radcliffe (General) Hospital.

Keywords

Social Setting Psychiatric Inpatient Borderline Personality Disorder Deliberate Self Harm Suicidal Intent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

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Copyright information

© Chris Millard 2015

Open Access This Chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris Millard
    • 1
  1. 1.Queen MaryUniversity of LondonUK

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