Naltrexone as a treatment of self-injurious behavior--a case report

Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2001 Mar;103(3):234-6. doi: 10.1034/j.1600-0447.2001.00087.x.


Objective: Self-injurious (SIB) is a phenomenon associated with different psychopathological conditions such as psychosis, mental retardation and especially severe personality disorders--mainly of the borderline subtype. It has been suggested that a blockade of the endogenous opoid system might lead to a reduction of the urge to SIB.

Method: The case and successful treatment of SIB with naltrexone in a patient with borderline personality disorder and dysthymia is described.

Results: After treatment trials with neuroleptics, antidepressants and valproate the patient was treated with naltrexone in a dosis of 50 mg/day and did not show SIB over a follow-up period of 32 weeks.

Conclusion: Naltrexone could be effective in reducing SIB in patients with psychiatric disorders by blocking the positive reinforcement of SIB, which is released by the release of endogenous opoides. Placebo-controlled studies of the efficacy of naltrexone in treating SIB should be undertaken.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / drug therapy*


  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naltrexone