The Demedicalization of Self-Injury: From Psychopathology to Sociological Deviance


Published on

I made these slides up from a video I made for a course in ethnography. They are related to the article Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler's article The Demedicalization of Self-Injury: From Psychopathology to Sociological Deviance.

Published in: Education, Health & Medicine
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

The Demedicalization of Self-Injury: From Psychopathology to Sociological Deviance

  1. 1. Self-injurers
  2. 2. Do you think he has a borderlinepersonality disorder?An antisocial personality disorder? A dissociative disorder?He suffers from substance abuse oralcohol dependence?
  3. 3. Psychiatry does
  4. 4. Are they just young people?
  5. 5. Are they caucasian?
  6. 6. Are they primarily educated,middle- or upper-class women ?
  7. 7. Most self-injurers neverseek the help of mentalor health professionals.
  8. 8. Who are they?
  9. 9. “Participants ranged in age from 16to their mid-50,with more women (65) than men (15),nearly all Caucasian.Many people continued self-injuring,either continuously or intermittently,into adulthood.The interviews we obtained ranged inlocation all over the US, Canada, andGreat Britain.”
  10. 10. “It has commonly been assumed thatself-injury, like eating disorders, isa practice of white, wealthy girls,but as with eating disorders, we areincreasingly finding self-injury amongboys, men, people of color, and thosefrom lower socioeconomic statuses.”
  11. 11. Why do they do it?
  12. 12. Is it love pain?
  13. 13. “Romantic traumas were a moresignificant factor cited by boys.Breakups, fights, or other forms ofrejection turned them inward to cut.”
  14. 14. Is it loneliness?
  15. 15. “It happened the first time when mygroup turned against me for some reason.They alienated me for a week straight,they started rumors about me.I was so sad, it just started. I wascrying and so upset and couldn’t stopcrying, and I just took a coat hanger, andthat’s how it started.” Rachel, 23
  16. 16. Rebellion?
  17. 17. “Others joinedsimilar groups asa mode of teenagerebellion, toshock theirparents or town.”
  18. 18. Is it to be someone?
  19. 19. “I think, this is going back to my ex-boyfriend who said, “I just want todefine myself in some way,” becauseeveryone else was doing it, I think it givesyou a sense of belonging to do somethingother people are doing. So you’re in agroup or something like that.” Amber, 20
  20. 20. Is it pressure?
  21. 21. “Others from typicalfamily backgroundsturned to self-injurybecause of schoolstress,overcommitment inextracurricularactivities, and adriving sense ofperfectionism.”
  22. 22. “I think that it’s just, I like the way Ifeel when I do it. I like having it, justbeing able to think that I can cut laterhelps me sort of deal in the moment withthings that might be stressful..” Amy, 28
  23. 23. Is it for its own sake?
  24. 24. “It was on the TV, and they bring all these teenagersthat are like, “I had a problem.” And they’re bringingall these psychiatrists and they’re like, “These kids,they need help. It’s a mental disorder.”I was like, “That is so not it.” It’s just, it’s apersonal way of expressing emotion. It is a lifestylechoice; it’s just the way you choose to expressyour emotions. I mean everybody has to have anoutlet. You can go and do martial arts as yourexpression or you can do art, or you can cutyourself. If some people view it as a problem, thenyes, they should get help. I never saw it as a problem.I just saw it as the way that I chose to do it. ” Vanessa, 20
  25. 25. “For Bonnie, self-injury representedan effective coping tool.Bonnie rationalized that people whoinjured themselves were better thanthose who injured others. ”
  26. 26. “Our subjects overwhelmingly agreethat it represents an attempt atself-help.They claim that their behaviorsprovide immediate but short-termrelease from anxiety,depersonalization, racing thoughts,and rapidly fluctuating emotions.”
  27. 27. How do they learn it?
  28. 28. “People learned that self-injuryexisted, how to do it, and how toperceive and interpret the effects,and they formed identities and socialgroups around it.”
  29. 29. “It was a rough time for me. I gotmiserable. I just didn’t feel like confidingin my parents, and I felt no oneunderstood. So my friend told me abouther newfound technique, and I tried it assomething that may unleash some of mystress. And it kind of was, whichreinforced it.” Sally, 21
  30. 30. What is it? An illness?
  31. 31. “We, too, found many who did itimpulsively, ducking into schoolrestrooms to cut in toilet stalls,self-injuring when they were drunkand depressed, or doing itwhenever the mood struck them.However, we also found people whoself-injured in an intentional,planned, and deferred manner.”
  32. 32. “All of these modes of self-injuryeschewed the impulsive need tofulfill immediate urges andrepresented forms of consciousthought, decision making, andplanning. They show individuals’rationality, agency, and controlover their behavior rather than apathological powerlessness.”
  33. 33. “It’s not something that you really lookforward to. And I’ve often done it sortof in rituals too, where I’ve done it forso many different reasons and everythingthat, I don’t know, it’s just different allthe time.” Lindsay, 32
  34. 34. “Those who did think about itsometimes had thoughts of remorseor regret, but when they neededit, they were grateful it wasthere. They let nothing standbetween them and the relief theywanted, and as long as they feltthey needed it, they werecommitted to doing it, no matterwhat the consequences.”
  35. 35. Patricia A. Adler and Peter AdlerThe Demedicalization of Self-Injury:From Psychopathology to Sociological Deviance
  36. 36. Patricia A. Adler and Peter AdlerThe Demedicalization of Self-Injury:From Psychopathology to Sociological Deviance Presented by Sara Vannini - Summer School - Lugano, September 2011