An Infographic Presenting the Types of Self-injurious Behaviours


  • Anam Khan PhD Student, Faculty of Health, Dalhousie University



To this day, there is immense confusion among clinicians and researchers on which behaviours fall under the rubric of self-injurious behaviours (SIBs) or on how to categorize them into meaningful groups (Simeon & Favazza, 2001). It was not until 2013, that Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI) Disorder was included in the DSM 5 and recognized as a unique clinical entity (Gratz et al., 2015). Even so, SIBs have numerous jargons where the word ‘self-harm‘, though most frequently used, is often confused with other related behaviours. The most essential condition of self-injurious behaviour whether suicidal or non-suicidal is that the self-harm or potential for self-harm itself is a deliberate consequence of the behaviour. Thus, it is distinct from acts that are dangerous but not undertaken with the motivation to inflict harm on oneself such as driving fast or drinking excessively and behaviours that are culturally and socially sanctioned such as tattoos, piercings or religious rituals. The present infographic is an overview of SIBs. It especially focuses on the various types of NSSI, in the order of increasing lethality. The three NSSI groups presented are mild, moderate, and severe, placed based on tissue damage, followed by examples and exclusions. Though the lists are not exhaustive, the purpose was to help distinguish between the various types of SIBs. The infographic is based on existing literature and classification systems and is aimed at presenting a quick and simple understanding of SIBs, particularly NSSI, that can be of interest to clinicians, researchers, and the general population            


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