[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individuals who mutilate themselves are at greater risk for suicidal behavior. Clinically, however, there is a perception that the suicide attempts of self-mutilators are motivated by the desire for attention rather than by a genuine wish to die. The purpose of this study was to determine differences between suicide attempters with and without a history of self-mutilation.
The authors examined demographic characteristics, psychopathology, objective and perceived lethality of suicide attempts, and perceptions of their suicidal behavior in 30 suicide attempters with cluster B personality disorders who had a history of self-mutilation and a matched group of 23 suicide attempters with cluster B personality disorders who had no history of self-mutilation.
The two groups did not differ in the objective lethality of their attempts, but their perceptions of the attempts differed. Self-mutilators perceived their suicide attempts as less lethal, with a greater likelihood of rescue and with less certainty of death. In addition, suicide attempters with a history of self-mutilation had significantly higher levels of depression, hopelessness, aggression, anxiety, impulsivity, and suicide ideation. They exhibited more behaviors consistent with borderline personality disorder and were more likely to have a history of childhood abuse. Self-mutilators had more persistent suicide ideation, and their pattern for suicide was similar to their pattern for self-mutilation, which was characterized by chronic urges to injure themselves.
Suicide attempters with cluster B personality disorders who have a history of self-mutilation tend to be more depressed, anxious, and impulsive, and they also tend to underestimate the lethality of their suicide attempts. Therefore, clinicians may be unintentionally misled in assessing the suicide risk of self-mutilators as less serious than it is.
American Journal of Psychiatry 04/2001; 158(3):427-32. · 14.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to determine whether aggression and serotonergic dysfunction are related in the absence of a history of suicidal behavior. Although serotonergic dysfunction has been implicated in aggressive and impulsive behavior, most studies of such behavior have included individuals with a history of suicide attempts. Low concentrations of CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) have been consistently associated with suicidal behavior, presenting a potential confound in the link between aggression and serotonergic dysfunction.
The authors examined the association between aggression and CSF 5-HIAA concentrations in a group of 64 patients who had different DSM-III-R axis I diagnoses and no past suicidal behavior. Aggressive (N=35) and nonaggressive (N=29) groups were defined by a median split on a six-item history of adulthood aggressive behavior.
The aggressive group had significantly lower CSF 5-HIAA concentrations than the nonaggressive group. Aggressive individuals also scored significantly higher on self-report measures of hostility, impulsiveness, and sensation seeking. CSF 5-HIAA concentrations, however, did not correlate with self-reported hostility and impulsivity.
There is an association between aggressive behavior and serotonergic dysfunction independent of suicidal behavior in patients with axis I disorders who exhibit relatively milder forms of aggressive behavior. Analogous to findings with suicidal behavior, a low concentration of CSF 5-HIAA is related to aggressive behavior but does not show the same relationship to the continuum of aggressive feelings and thoughts.
American Journal of Psychiatry 05/2000; 157(4):609-14. · 14.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the value of positive, negative and depressive symptoms, and of the dexamethasone suppression test (DST), in differentiating schizophrenics with and without a history of suicide. Fifty-seven hospitalized patients with schizophrenia were assessed at the end of a neuroleptic free interval with the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale (BPRS), the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD), and with a dexamethasone challenge. Suicide attempters were significantly more likely to meet criteria for major depression than nonattempters. Scores on the HRSD differentiated the two groups whereas the sums of positive and negative symptom items from the BPRS did not. DST a.m. and p.m. cortisol values differentiated suicide attempters from nonattempters and HRSD scores correlated significantly with cortisol levels. This study confirms the importance of depressive symptoms in schizophrenic patients with a history of suicide. Assessment of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in schizophrenia may also provide useful information.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In general, effective treatments for trichotillomania have been elusive. Although behavioral therapies and hypnosis have provided benefits to some, adult patients with chronic hair pulling have often proved refractory to treatment. Medication has generally been unhelpful until the recent introduction of serotonin reuptake inhibitors for the treatment of this condition. Furthermore, there has been little systematic study of the clinical characteristics of these patients.
Twenty individuals with trichotillomania were interviewed and were characterized on the basis of hair-pulling patterns, comorbidity, obsessionality, and the presence of symptoms of depression and anxiety. Twelve patients participated in an open 16-week trial of fluoxetine (up to 80 mg/day).
Compared with baseline scores derived from a scale of trichotillomania severity, severity scores at endpoint decreased (improved) by 34% (p less than .025). Among the 8 responders, the mean decrease in severity scores was 60%. Fifty-five percent (11 of 20) had current or past additional DSM-III-R Axis I diagnoses (disorders of mood, anxiety, and psychoactive substance use).
We conclude that in an open 16-week trial, patients treated with fluoxetine improved significantly. Data are presented on comorbid conditions, depressive symptoms, and anxiety. Baseline behavioral assessments of patients with trichotillomania suggest that substantial differences exist between this syndrome and obsessive compulsive disorder.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 10/1992; 53(9):304-8. · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 20 patients (aged 22–60 yrs) with trichotillomania were interviewed and were characterized on the basis of hair-pulling patterns, comorbidity, obsessionality and the presence of symptoms of depression and anxiety. 12 Ss participated in an open 16-wk trial of fluoxetine (up to 80 mg/day). Compared with baseline scores derived from a scale of trichotillomania severity, severity scores at endpoint decreased (improved) by 34%. Among the 8 responders, the mean decrease in severity scores was 60%. 11 of the original 20 Ss had current or past additional Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-III-Revised (DSM-III-R) Axis I diagnoses (i.e., mood, anxiety, or psychoactive substance-use disorders). Only 1 S had a comorbid diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 08/1992; · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to determine whether self-mutilators with personality disorders differ from nonmutilators with personality disorders in impulsivity, aggression, and other psychopathology and whether serotonergic dysfunction contributes to self-mutilation.
Twenty-six self-mutilators with personality disorders were matched to 26 control subjects with personality disorders for gender, age, education, axis I diagnosis of affective disorder, and axis II diagnosis of personality disorder. Numerous indexes of psychopathology as well as CSF 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) levels and platelet imipramine binding sites (Bmax) and affinity (Kd) were determined.
Self-mutilators had significantly more severe character pathology, had greater lifetime aggression, and were more antisocial than the control subjects. The self-mutilators scored higher on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression but not on the Beck Depression Inventory or the Beck Hopelessness Scale. The two groups did not differ on the Buss-Durkee Hostility and Guilt Inventory or on the Sensation Seeking Scale. The degree of self-mutilation was significantly correlated with impulsivity, chronic anger, and somatic anxiety. Both self-mutilation and impulsivity showed significant negative correlations with Bmax, although the two groups did not differ in CSF 5-HIAA levels or in platelet imipramine binding.
The results demonstrate the contribution of severe character pathology, aggression, impulsivity, anxiety, and anger to self-mutilation and provide preliminary support for the hypothesis of underlying serotonergic dysfunction facilitating self-mutilation.
American Journal of Psychiatry 03/1992; 149(2):221-6. · 14.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The capacity to measure the severity of trichotillomania is necessary for studies of the efficacy of treatment interventions. To date, researchers have used diverse methods, including: the adaptation of instruments designed for other purposes, counting episodes of hair pulling, counting hairs that have been pulled out, and both physician- and self-administered scales of severity or improvement. In this paper, the authors review the methods that have been employed, discuss problems in the measurement of trichotillomania, explore the potential for objective measures of hair loss and introduce a new instrument, the Psychiatric Institute Trichotillomania Scale.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: CSF findings distinguished 12 elderly depressed patients who attempted suicide from nine depressed patients who did not and from seven normal control subjects. Psychosocial factors and measures of psychopathology did not differentiate suicidal from nonsuicidal patients. Biochemical factors may be important in evaluating suicide risk in the elderly.
American Journal of Psychiatry 10/1990; 147(9):1225-7. · 14.72 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite major advances in psychiatry in the past three decades, the rate of suicide has not declined. In an effort to better understand suicide, recent research has examined the importance of biochemical factors in this behavior. Biochemical studies of suicide victims and attempters have indicated that either serotonin (5-HT) or its metabolite 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) is reduced in this population when compared with individuals who do not exhibit suicidal behavior. Also, alterations in 5-HT receptors have been observed in suicide victims. While the biochemical findings are promising, it appears that an approach that combines psychosocial and biochemical factors offers the greatest promise for improved identification of suicide risk.
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 05/1990; 51 Suppl:22-8; discussion 29-30. · 5.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Serotonin is N-acetylated to melatonin. The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of N-acetylation of dapsone reflecting serotonergic activity. The ratio of monoacetyldapsone/dapsone (MAD/DDS) in plasma, 5-HIAA in CSF, and imipramine-binding to platelets were investigated in a group of psychiatric patients, diagnosed according to the DSM-III as affective disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders. There was no significant correlation between either of the serotonergic estimates and N-acetylation in the whole patient group or in diagnostic subgroups of patients. Sixty-four percent of the patients were slow N-acetylators (MAD/DDS less than 0.4), which is a ratio in line with several other studies of psychiatric patients. Among patients with affective disorders, all unipolar patients were slow N-acetylators, while five out of six bipolar patients were fast N-acetylators. The N-acetylation of patients with a history of suicide attempt did not differ from those without. The discrepancy in N-acetylation between uni- and bipolar patients might again address the issue of them representing two different biochemical and genetic disorders.