Around four in 10 US teens with eating disorders also intentionally harm themselves, usually by cutting, and the rate could be higher because clinicians don`t routinely screen for self-injury, a study shows. "These are very high numbers, but they`re still conservative estimates," because doctors and other care-givers don`t always ask young patients about self-injury, said Rebecka Peebles, a lead author of the study conducted by researchers from Stanford University and Lucile Packard Children`s Hospital.
But only around half the youngsters who checked into the eating disorders program were even asked if they intentionally injured themselves -- and those who were usually fit the profile of a self-injurer: older, white, female, suffering from bulimia nervosa, or with a history of substance abuse. "The question is, are we missing other kids who are not meeting this profile?" Peebles said. The study did not examine the reasons behind self-injury but Peebles said her clinical experience suggested patients "are trying to feel pain" and feel "release that comes when they cut or burn themselves." Other studies have shown that between 13 and 40 per cent of all adolescents engage in some form of self-injury, which has been associated with a higher risk of suicide. Bureau Report
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