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© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Deliberate self-poisoning is one of the most common reasons for general hospital presentation. The majority of the individuals involved are young, but it occurs across the life cycle. Females outnumber males. Self-poisoning occurs in people from a variety of social backgrounds, but is associated with socioeconomic deprivation and social fragmentation. Common precipitants include relationship problems, often in the context of depression and alcohol abuse. The risks of repetition of self-harm and of suicide following self-poisoning are substantial. Psychosocial assessment of patients should include investigation of the events and problems preceding the act, suicidal intent and other motives for the act, psychiatric disorder, personality traits and disorder, family and personal history, psychiatric history, including of self-harm, risk of further self-harm and suicide, and coping resources and support. Aftercare should focus on the patient's needs and reducing their risk.

Original publication




Journal article


Medicine (United Kingdom)

Publication Date





103 - 105