By On December 4th, 2008

Self-Embedding: Tracking A New Trend in Self-Mutilation

A paperclip pushed deep into arm muscle. Pencil lead broken off into the skin. They're just a couple of examples of a phenomenon in self-injury that researchers are only now beginning to study seriously:

Researchers evaluating a new technique for locating and removing objects accidentally embedded in the body say they may have uncovered a new form of self-mutilating behavior in which teenagers intentionally insert objects into their flesh.

Personnel at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, report extracting 52 foreign objects that 10 teenage girls deliberately embedded in their arms, hands, feet, ankles and necks over the last three years, including needles, staples, wood, stone, glass, pencil lead and a crayon.

The awful aspect about self-embedding is that the mutilation is carried around like a secret, since it is hidden in the body. The only way to really screen for the disorder is to do full-body scanning, which few mental health centers are likely to offer.

Read more about the self-embedding phenomenon here.

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