A new code has been created to describe non-suicidal self-harm (R45.88). The new code provides a way to differentiate between suicidal and non-suicidal self-harm, and allows non-suicidal self-harm to be treated and tracked in clinical databases.
Non-suicidal self-harm is directly and intentionally inflicting damage to one’s own body without intention of suicide. Self-harm may include cutting, biting, burning, severe abrading or scratching, pinching, banging or punching objects and oneself, and breaking bones.
Self-harm is not a mental illness, but a behavior that indicates a need for better coping skills. It is a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, anger and frustration. Individuals engaging in self-harm report that they do it, because it feels good or it provides a rush. Several illnesses are associated with self-harm, including borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder.
Self-harm has less to do with the method used to hurt one’s body than the intention to hurt oneself.
A 13-year-old presented to the pediatrician’s office after his mother witnessed, on several occasions the patient intentionally biting himself. He denied wanting to end his life and stated that he often feels anxious because of stressful situations at school. The provider diagnosed non-suicidal self-harm. What is the correct code assignment for non-suicidal self-harm?
Assign code R45.88, Nonsuicidal self-harm, for this condition. Assign additional codes for any bite injury.