Self-injurious behavior

  • Armando R. Favazza


Self-injurious behavior (SIB) has been around for a long time. Many caves in Southern France contain hand imprints on their walls and in one cave, at Gargas the 20,000 year old imprints display the absence of all tips except for the thumb. The 5th century B.C.E. historian Herodotus described the actions of a probably psychotic Spartan leader, Cleomenes, who mutilated him by slicing his flesh into strips with a knife; starting with his shins he worked upwards to his thighs, hips, and sides until he reached his abdomen which he chopped into mincemeat. The Gospel of Mark 5∶5 describes a repetitive self-injurer, a man who “night and day would cry aloud among the tombs and on the hillsides and cut himself with stones.


Personality Disorder Borderline Personality Disorder Evil Spirit Gold Ball Dissociative Disorder 
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Selected readings

  1. Walsh B (2006) Treating self-injury. New York: GuilfordGoogle Scholar
  2. Conterio K, Lader W (1998) Bodily harm. New York: HyperionGoogle Scholar
  3. Favazza A (1998) The coming of age of self-mutilation. J Nervous Mental Disorders 186: 259–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Armando R. Favazza
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaColumbiaUSA

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