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Psychiatry Res. 1997 Mar 3;69(1):17-26.

Serotonergic function and self-injurious behavior in personality disorder patients.

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Mt. Sinai Medical Center, New York, NY 10029-6574, USA.


Self-directed aggression, whether in the form of non-suicidal self-mutilation or suicidal behavior, is a prominent feature of personality disorders. We hypothesized that self-injurious behavior, like suicidal behavior, represents a form of self-directed aggression, and may, like suicidal behavior and impulsive aggression, be associated with a decrease in central serotonin function in personality disorder patients. Ninety-seven patients with DSM-III personality disorder underwent D,L-fenfluramine challenge as an assessment of serotonergic activity. Patients with a history of self-mutilation or suicide had blunted prolactin and cortisol responses to D,L-fenfluramine compared to those with neither, and those with both had the most blunted responses to fenfluramine. These data raise the possibility that the central 5-HT abnormality, previously associated with suicidal behavior, may be associated with self-directed violence and not necessarily specifically with suicidal intent.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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