Drug overdoses are a relatively common way to attempt suicide. There are also many overdose cases where the intent is to cause self-harm but not death.
Usually, when people commit intentional self-harm the act is considered to be either suicidal or non-suicidal self-injurious behavior (SIB). However, due to an unresolved debate about definitions, non-fatal overdoses are traditionally not classified as being self-injurious at all.
Researchers Kathryn Fox, Alexander Millner and Joseph Franklin recognized this deficiency as a barrier to developing effective treatment methods, and designed an empirical study to help develop a better system for classifying overdoses.
Participants in this investigation, published online in the academic journal Psychology Research, were recruited from online forums related to self-injury and associated psychopathologies. In total 183 young people were included in the analysis.