Management of a Cluster of Foreign Body Ingestion Incidents in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder


Objective: Deliberate foreign body ingestion (DFBI) has been reported in patients with personality disorders as part of a spectrum of self-harming behaviours, however the published literature is small (15 case reports). Method: This was a retrospective audit of medical and psychological management of a cluster of 12 DFBI incidents over 9 months in 4 young female patients with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Results: All four patients knew one another from outpatient psychotherapy programmes. DFBI was associated with substance use in 5/12 incidents, and with precipitants (experiencing strong emotions, witnessing self-harm) in 4/12 incidents. Most DFBI involved sharp objects (razor blades, glass, safety pins). Medical intervention was initially active (endoscopy/surgery) but progressed to a more conservative, observational approach. Psychological management was initially restrictive, but also changed over time to focus on identifying distress, enhancing coping mechanisms and patient responsibility. Co-ordination of patient care management involvedintensive liaison (provision of interdisciplinary support and education) between medical, surgical and psychiatric teams. Conclusion: Management of DFBI in patients with BPD requires high levels of interdisciplinary collaboration. In this cluster of DFBI incidents, effective management was achieved with conservative medical/surgical methods (observation) and non-restrictive psychological approaches that enhanced patient self-efficacy.

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Dyke, J. , Hendry, K. , Hill, J. , Schultz, M. , Mason, E. and Glue, P. (2014) Management of a Cluster of Foreign Body Ingestion Incidents in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 4, 99-103. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2014.42014.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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