Friday, October 8, 2010

Missing self-injury behavior in youths with eating disorders, study finds

An alarming number of adolescents already battling eating disorders are also intentionally cutting themselves, and health-care providers may be failing to diagnose many instances of such self-injury, according to a new study from Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

The researchers found that 40.8 percent of patients with eating disorders in their study had documented incidents of intentionally harming themselves, most often by cutting and burning. What's more, the study suggests that inadequate clinical screening might mean the count should be much higher.

"These are very high numbers, but they're still conservative estimates," said the study's lead author, Rebecka Peebles, MD, who was an instructor in pediatrics at Stanford when the research was conducted and is joining the faculty at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Peebles noted that clinicians aren't routinely asking about this activity. "We ask 97 percent of children 12 years and up if they smoke cigarettes; we need to get that good with screening for self-injurious behavior," she said.

The study is to be published online Oct. 8 in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Its senior author is James Lock, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and of pediatrics. He is also psychiatric director of the Comprehensive Eating Disorders Program at Packard Children's Hospital.

To conduct the study, the researchers examined the intake evaluation records of 1,432 patients, ages 10-21, who were admitted to the hospital's eating disorders program from January 1997 through April 2008. Just over 90 percent of all the patients were female, three-quarters of them white, with a mean age of 15. Among the 40.8 percent identified to be physically harming themselves, the mean age was 16. Many of these patients had a history of binging and purging, and 85.2 percent of the self-injurers were cutting themselves.


Source and More:
http://www.physorg.com/news205730056.html

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