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Autoaggression – the form of deviant behavior which is characterized by the hostile actions directed to themselves. Arises in situations of transfer of aggression with external socially or physically inaccessible object. It is shown at the mental level – self-accusation, self-abasement, the notions of compulsion, and at the level of actions – physical abuse directly and indirectly (cuts, suicide attempts, piercing, anorexia). Methods of diagnostics of an autoaggression – a conversation with the psychiatrist, a psychological research of the emotional and personal sphere. Specific treatment includes cognitive and behavioral and group psychotherapy.


The word "autoaggression" has a Latin origin, is translated as "attack on itself". This type of behavior is also called autoaggression, an autodestruktion, turn against themselves. The autoaggression is pathological option of reaction at a stress and threat of disadaptation. A variety of forms of manifestation – from the self-accusing thoughts and hobby for piercing before attempts of a suicide – does not allow to define epidemiology. The most dangerous forms of an autoaggression are exposed to the statistical account: suicides (0,02%), drug addiction (1,5-1,7%), alcoholism (4,5-4,8%). To Autoagressivny behavior, especially its severe forms, men are more subject.

Autoaggression reasons

The stress makes active the protective mechanisms allowing to keep balance at the mental and physiological level. The autoaggression arises as critical reaction, its development is promoted by triggers – the situational, often social factors changing resistance to stress threshold. At adults carry to the reasons of start of autoagressivny behavior:

  • Consequences of the wrong education. Autodestruktion is shown as the fixed behavioural reaction after humiliations and lack of love of parents. The overestimated requirements, frequent charges, unreasonable criticism, comparison with progress of others, deprivation of communication and care as punishment can become the reason.
  • The endured violence. The victims of violent acts make autoagressivny actions to remove the collecting stress, to splash out neotreagirovanny emotions (hatred, rage, anger). In risk group the people who were exposed to physical punishments in the childhood, to the spouse's beating, combatants.
  • Commitment of ideology. Excessive hobby for religion, philosophical and esoteric knowledge, power supply systems, physical activities sometimes faces impossibility to observe the bans, to fulfill requirements. Internal tension grows, there is hatred to itself, shame, sense of guilt.
  • Dissatisfaction with work, family. The Autodestruktivny behavior is formed at impossibility of open response to the conflicts, the bans, restrictions, unacceptable requirements. Harming dares to remove stress and to keep the social relations (work, marriage, other favorable partnership).
  • Mental and somatic diseases. Intolerable pain, a heavy depression, experience of physical helplessness becomes the reason of an autoaggression. Patients make attempts of suicide, self-damage.
  • Aspiration to manipulation. The demonstrative autoaggression is widespread among teenagers and persons with isteroidny traits of character. The true purpose is the need for attention of people around, obtaining benefit.


The stressful situation preceding development of an autoaggression arises on a social basis – on the basis of a loss syndrome (loss of the significant person, the status), lack of support of social institutes (a family, collective), sharp increase in level of aggression in population, public uncertainty. Compensatory mechanisms of the person are exhausted, the condition of dezadaptatsionny readiness is formed. At influence of a trigger factor (reason) the protective and adaptive behavior – an autoaggression develops. It is the protective mechanism allowing to keep psychophysiological balance.

There is redirection of aggressive tendencies from an object on own personality. The impossibility of an open vymeshcheniye of negative emotions on other person can be connected with a physical or temporary inaccessibility, the need to keep the benevolent relations (the conflicts with the chief on work, the wife/husband). In similar situations the autoaggression becomes the most acceptable way of reaction to a condition of a stress and the menacing disadaptation.


Several options of classification of an autoaggression are developed. On features of manifestation she is dug out and indirect. The suicide behavior and self-damages belongs to the first type. It is more difficult to distinguish an indirect form, autodestruktivny actions are implemented in food or chemical dependence, fanatical, autichesky or viktimny behavior, extreme sports, and also in socially acceptable ways of self-damage (piercing, a permanent make-up). On ways of expression the autoaggression is subdivided into four types:

  1. Mental (mental). It is provoked by set of the psychological features which are shown tendency or direct demonstration of a verbal autodestruktion. Is implemented through self-accusation, self-abasement.
  2. Physical. Is followed by desire to put itself injuries. The person commits physical abuse over own body – strikes blows, cuts, punctures.
  3. Spiritual. Includes drug addiction, alcoholization, purposeful isolation from society and other actions exhausting morally. This form of an autoaggression influences an emotional state.
  4. Social. The main orientation of behavior – separation from communication, desire to become the derelict. Actions do not bring joy from performance, the satisfaction appears in response to negative reaction of society.

Autoaggression symptoms

As the most obvious manifestation of autoagressivny behavior self-damage is considered. There are its direct forms – drawing bruises (punches, a leg,-headed about a wall), cuts, stings. Addiction to piercing, a permanent make-up, shramirovaniye, expression of spots are considered as indirect options of self-damage. Other obvious form of an autoaggression is suicide activity – thoughts of suicide, planning, attempts. Food or chemical dependence is implemented in the form of an overeating, refusal of food, drug addiction, toxicomania, alcoholism.

Unacceptability of open manifestation of an autoaggression leads to participation in fanatical behavior. The person, punishing itself, enters destructive religious and political groups, the movements of sports fans. In their structure he makes acts which with high probability can do physical harm and condemnation by society. At autichesky behavior self-punishment is implemented by means of restriction of need for communication, at viktimny – aspiration (conscious or subconscious) to violence situations, life-threatening and health. Occupations extreme sport – driving of transport along a route with obstacles, at a high speed, parachute jumps – are one of the types of an autoaggression which are rather approved by society.


In the absence of the psychotherapeutic help heavy options of an autoaggression come to an end with a lethal outcome as a result of direct and indirect suicide attempts, intoxication psychotropic substances, alcohol. The depression developing on the basis of sense of guilt and the forced-out aggression belongs to other complications. There is a high risk of developing of physical injuries, somatic diseases. Among the most widespread – bruises, spinal fractures and extremities, a muscle strain and sheaves, infections of skin and mucous membranes, heavy intoxications, a coma.


Need of professional diagnostics arises at heavy options of autoagressivny behavior – alcoholism, drug addiction, anorexia, bulimia, suicide behavior, self-damage. The research is conducted by the psychiatrist, the psychotherapist, the psychologist, is directed to identification of an autoaggression and its reasons. The following methods are used:

  • Kliniko-anamnestichesky. The doctor listens to complaints, specifies expressiveness and duration of symptoms, existence of stressful factors, the accompanying somatic and mental diseases. Questions are focused on definition of features of the relations in a family, at work, detection of psychological injuries.
  • Questionnaires. Questions are applied to studying of emotional and personal features and the uzkospetsifichesky tests revealing autoagressivny tendencies. A set of diagnostic techniques is defined by the psychologist individually, can include MMPI (The Minnesota multiple-factor personal questionnaire and its modifications of SMIL, MMIL, the mini-cartoon), Ayzenk's questionnaire, a technique of diagnostics of aggression of Ch. Spilberger, Bass-Darki's questionnaire.
  • Projective tests. Pictural and interpretative techniques are used in addition to questionnaires, reveal a subconscious autoaggression. The Frustratsionny test of S. Rosenzweig is carried out, the Thematic apperceptive test, the patient the Drawing of the person, a nonexistent animal ask to execute.

Treatment of an autoaggression

At autoagressivny behavior individual approach at selection of methods of treatment is important. Frustration development mechanisms, personal features of the patient are considered. The Etiotropny direction is implemented by various methods of psychotherapy, for elimination of the expressed dezadaptivny symptoms medicines are used. Are included in the general scheme of treatment:

  • Cognitive and behavioural psychotherapy. Sessions are aimed at understanding and change of the negative installations in relation to themselves which are shown the underestimated self-assessment, a fault complex, superresponsibility, uncertainty and implemented through an autoaggression. At the second stage self-checking level increases, the destructive behavior is replaced with productive – are approved technology of open, but safe manifestation of aggression outside.
  • Group trainings. In the conditions of interpersonal communication patients master skills of compromise resolution of conflicts, safe expression of feelings and desires, upholding of the position. Through reactions of participants of a training there is a feedback giving an idea of efficiency of behavior.
  • Medicamentous therapy. At the expressed autoaggression constituting health hazard and the patient's lives drugs are used. The psychiatrist appoints medicines, being guided by the dominating symptomatology. Antidepressants, tranquilizers, neuroleptics can be applied.

Forecast and prevention

The forecast of an autoaggression is defined individually, depends on a form of frustration, timeliness of diagnostics and treatment, motivation of the patient to recovery. Prevention is based on development of social skills and increase in resistance to stress. The risk of an autoaggression decreases at ability openly and correctly to express the feelings, to defend own opinion. In situations of impossibility of demonstration of negative feelings – anger, rage, aggression – it is important to be able to transfer them in time and to redirect on other object in external space. Example: to attend sports activities (boxing, fight) after the working day. It is necessary to learn to analyze situations of social interaction which cause internal tension, to find time for entertainments, rest, occupations creativity or another favourite matter.

Autoaggression - treatment should be carried out only under the supervision of a doctor. Self-treatment is unacceptable!!!

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