Nonsuicidal self-injury: a review of current research for family medicine and primary care physicians.
Self-injury is a dangerous behavior that is different from suicidal behavior but is associated with increased risk of suicide attempts. Some effective psychological treatments for self-injury exist. Physicians in family medicine and primary care settings play a vital role as a first step in the treatment process for those who self-injure. Physicians can enhance the care provided to those who self-injure via the accurate assessment of risk, the understanding of the functions of the behavior, assisting the patient in identifying motivations for treatment and treatment options, and provision of long-term behavioral and risk monitoring. This article summarizes the current scientific knowledge regarding the clinical features, epidemiology, assessment methods, and existing treatments of self-injury. The role of the primary care physician in the treatment of patients who self-injure is specifically outlined.