Deliberate self-harm in nondepressed substance-dependent patients

J Addict Med. 2012 Dec;6(4):247-52. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0b013e31826508c0.


Objective: The lifetime diagnosis of substance dependence syndrome is a major risk factor for attempting suicide. The systematic study of various risk factors of suicide in substance-dependent patients in Indian population will have far-reaching implications about the understanding of disorder. The objective was to study the sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with deliberate self-harm (DSH) in nondepressed substance-dependent patients.

Methods: Participants included 60 male inpatients (30 patients with DSH and 30 without DSH) fulfilling International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision Diagnostic Criteria for Research for substance dependence syndrome, aged between 18 and 60 years, with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score fewer than 7. They were assessed using Addiction Severity Index, Presumptive Stressful Life Event Scale, State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory, Lubben Social Network Scale, International Personality Disorder Examination, Risk Rescue Rating Scale, and Global Assessment of Functioning.

Result: Patients with DSH had significantly higher rates of opioid dependence (P < .05), risk of isolation (P < 0.001), the number of life events (P < 0.001), anger trait and anger expression (P < 0.001), personality disorder (P < 0.05), the number of substance use problems and lower social functioning (P < 0.001), as compared with those without DSH (P < 0.001). There was no significant correlation between Risk Rescue Rating Scale with sociodemographic and clinical variables.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated that patients with opioid dependence, high risk of isolation, the greater number of life events, higher anger trait and anger expression, personality disorder, low social functioning, and greater number of substance use problems have risk for DSH.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • India
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Inventory / statistics & numerical data
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / epidemiology*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / psychology
  • Social Isolation
  • Social Support
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology
  • Suicide, Attempted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult