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BACKGROUND: Previous UK studies have reported much lower rates of psychiatric and personality disorder in those who attempt suicide than in those who die by suicide. AIMS: To determine the nature and prevalence of psychiatric and personality disorders in deliberate self-harm (DSH) patients. METHOD: A representative sample of 150 DSH patients who presented to a general hospital were assessed using a structured clinical interview and a standardised instrument. Follow-up interviews were completed for 118 patients approximately 12-16 months later. RESULTS: ICD-10 psychiatric disorders were diagnosed in 138 patients (92.0%), with comorbidity of psychiatric disorders in 46.7%. The most common diagnosis was affective disorder (72.0%). Personality disorder was identified in 45.9% of patients interviewed at follow-up. Comorbidity of psychiatric and personality disorder was present in 44.1%. CONCLUSIONS: Psychiatric and personality disorders, and their comorbidity, are common in DSH patients. This has important implications for assessment and management.


Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





48 - 54


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Analysis of Variance, Comorbidity, England, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Humans, Male, Mental Disorders, Middle Aged, Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, Prevalence, Self-Injurious Behavior, Social Class