Self-Embedding Disorder: NOT

This is a newly-coined term appearing in a press release by the Radiological Society of North America to describe a form of self-injurious behavior, with which we psychiatrists are (unfortunately) far too familiar already. Placing foreign bodies such as hairpins and straightened paper clips into self-inflicted wounds and embedding them under the skin is, admittedly, a new trend in self-abuse, if we can believe the radiologists, whose press release describes the safety and efficacy of minimally-invasive image-guided treatment for the extraction of such objects. However, there is no need for a new diagnosis. Indeed, self-injuriousness in general is not an illness, or a diagnosis, unto itself, but rather a symptom of a variety of diagnoses. A fortiori for a particular kind of self-injuriousness. This illustrates one of the epistemological confusions plaguing the system for diagnosing behavioral problems, and is a perfect example of the needless proliferation of diagnostic categories.

Via The Neurocritic (By the way, I think the Neurocritic piece meant to discuss “foreign bodies”, not “foreign bodes”.)

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