PDF Understanding and Working with People with Learning Disabilities who Self-injure

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Contents:
  1. Adults with Learning Disabilities – An Overview

I have studied experiences of self-harm, violence and physical restraint from multiple perspectives. Some of my research has been featured in the NICE guidance for longer term management of self-harm. I am interested in creative and inclusive research methods, feminist and disabiity research.

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How accessible is prescription information? Disability and Society Journal Editorial activity.

Adults with Learning Disabilities – An Overview

Inclusive Research methods Invited talk. Working with men who self-harm Invited talk.


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Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Thompson and his colleagues have concluded that many of the estimated 50, to , Americans with developmental disabilities who injure themselves with acts such as head banging and self-biting do so either as a primitive form of communication or to stimulate the release of beta endorphins the brains natural morphine in the brain.

Thompsons latest research indicates that sufferers can be helped dramatically by combining communication training with a regimen of the drug naltrexone, which blocks the brains opiate receptors.

This particular combination of therapies works because many people with severe disabilities self-injure either as a means of communicating basic needs or wants or because doing so releases beta endorphin, said Thompson, professor of psychology, special education and psychiatry. If you can provide an alternative form of communication that they understand, they will do that instead of self-injuring. And by combining two treatmentsaugmentative communication training and naltrexoneit appears we can greatly reduce or stop self-injury in most cases.

Naltrexone works by blocking the brains opiate receptors, Thompson explained, so that when beta endorphin is released following self-injury it is unable to bind to the receptors and create the same sensation that occurs, for example, when a heroin addict takes a low dose of heroin.


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Thompson and his colleagues have also discovered that the location where people self-injure on the body is indicative of whether naltrexone will reduce self-injury. People who self-injure in acupuncture analgesia sites, such as the temple or the wrist immediately behind the thumb, seem to respond to naltrexone treatment, presumably because self-injury in those sites causes the release of beta endorphin while self-injury in other locations does not.

Observing over time where on the body an individual self-injures could help determine which treatment methods are likely to be most effective, Thompson said.