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Self-harm Research Papers

Self-harm research papers discuss the psychological phenomena that usually accompanies other mental disorders. Paper Masters' writers can custom write research on any aspect of self-harm that you need focused on, including the following interesting aspects of the disorder:

  • The incidence of self-harm in depressed individuals with suicidal ideology
  • What types of psychological disorders usually accompany self-harm?
  • What gender is more prone to self-harm?

Self-harm, also known as deliberate self-harm (DSH), has been defines as the direct intentional injuring of the body, usually done without attempting to commit suicide. Self HarmOlder editions of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), those published before the DSM-IV-TR, classified this behavior as “self-mutilation,” however the terminology has been revised in an attempt to produce more neutral terminology.

There are several different types of self-harm. Self-cutting is the most common, but other behaviors include burning, scratching, hair pulling, and the ingestion of poison. Self-harm has been classified as a form of borderline personality disorder, but many other disorders, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, or even schizophrenia, may also include aspects of self-harm.

Self-harm behaviors generally appear in younger people, often developing between the ages of 12 and 24. However, self-harm behaviors are not restricted solely to adolescents. About eighty percent of self-harm consists of cutting or stabbing into the skin, but methods are only limited by the extent to which the individual is willing to hurt him or herself. While self-harm is not a suicidal behavior, there is the risk that the extent of injury can become life threatening. In an effort to bring attention to this problem, March 1 has been designated as Self-Injury Awareness Day.

Prior to 1960, the general consensus amongst policymakers and clinical personnel was that long-term institutionalization was the best (or at least, most convenient) option for the treatment of the mentally ill who self-harm. Generations of families were born into the institutional environment, without ever knowing any other way of living. In 1960, the United States Supreme Court decided that involuntary institutionalization should be the last option chosen for psychiatric patients, and that more freedom, autonomy, and independence should be allotted for this population.

However, the historical roots of deinstitutionalization can be located prior to the landmark 1960 decision.  As Accordino, Porter, and Morse report, conditions of state psychiatric institutions had deteriorated during and after 1930’s Great Depression and World War II. Criticism of these conditions, paired with the 1955 introduction of new, effective, and novel pharmaceutical treatment options, meant major changes for the ways in which medical personnel and bureaucrats envisioned the future of psychiatric care. 

In 1946, the National Mental Health Act was enacted; not long after that, the National Institute of Mental Health was created with the intention of turning toward community-oriented treatment options for the mentally ill instead of institutional ones. Then, the Mental Health Study Act was passed in 1955 to mandate a comprehensive study of the United States mental health system; the results of this study greatly influenced the eventual movement toward deinstitutionalization of individuals that self-harm.

Obviously, this novel generation will be the subject of focus for those who monitor the conditions and evolution of the American psychiatric system.  With a focus on community integration and the de-emphasis of inpatient services, the health care system will serve these patients in a different capacity than previous generations.  Additionally, this generation is privy to the impact of increasingly complicated bureaucratic strictures set into place through the economic entities related to health care: insurance companies, medical facilities, HMOs, and the social security system.

For many reasons, deinstitutionalization was determined as being the best possible director for American psychiatric treatment’s procession.  From the standpoint of patient care, proponents viewed deinstitutionalization as a way to foster a greater sense of independence and to enable patients to go beyond simply surviving to pursue self-esteem and self-actualization.  Perhaps less noble but still greatly pertinent, the economic structures underlying United States healthcare were clearly in a position to benefit from deinstitutionalization: if outpatient treatment is less costly yet equally effective, then economic crisis can be delayed or avoided by this money saving measure.

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