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Psychosomatics. 2012 Jul-Aug;53(4):327-33. doi: 10.1016/j.psym.2012.01.007. Epub 2012 May 30.

Self-mutilation and biblical delusions: a review.

Author information

1
Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To review the literature for cases of deliberate self-harm that directly reference Bible verses as a motivation for action and discuss predictive factors of such behaviors and post-injury management strategies.

METHODS:

Sixteen cases of self-mutilation prompted by Biblical verses were found in the existing literature. The authors also describe a novel case of penile amputation prompted by a verse from the Gospel of Matthew.

RESULTS:

Four biblical verses associated with self-mutilation were found, all from the Gospel of Matthew. All patients presented with a diagnosis of psychosis at the time of the event. Other common themes include substance abuse, guilt over sexual acts, absence of pain or regret, and destruction of the severed body part.

CONCLUSIONS:

Patients with symptoms of psychosis may misinterpret various verses from the Gospel of Matthew as instructions to engage in self-injurious behavior. Psychiatrists should be aware of these four verses to understand their significance and potentially forestall these behaviors.

PMID:
22652302
DOI:
10.1016/j.psym.2012.01.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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