Questions re: Self-Injury
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Questions re: Self-Injury

Hi Dr. Phelps,
My son is mildly self injuring and I was wondering if you in general increase mood stabilzers ,other medications, or add antipsychotics when a patient of yours is self injuring? Or do you address it in other ways? Do you see patients that self injure more in their depression cycle or their hypo/manic cycle? Do many of your bipolar patients self injure? Any other comments or help on self injury would be helpful...Thank You

Dear Ms. B' -- 
Self injury is relatively common in people with intense symptoms, in my experience.  I put a link to a
wonderful site on self-harm on my site several years ago for this reason.  However, there is not much of a literature on bipolar disorder and self-harm (I just made a simple search; not much emerges).  In general it seems to be quite effective to increase mood stabilizers to help limit the sensations that lead to this behavior, and in general I have had the sense that in so doing we are going after the basis of the problem, as opposed to just trying to treat a symptom.  

Dr. Phelps

Published September, 2002


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