Background: Little is known about the psychiatric state of patients who stab themselves in the brain (intracranial self-stabbing), including whether the behavior is usually an attempt to commit suicide and whether it is performed in association with symptoms of psychotic illness.
Method: A search for cases of intracranial self-stabbing in New South Wales, Australia (NSW), and a systematic search for published case reports of intracranial self-stabbing.
Results: We located 5 cases in NSW in the last 10 years and 47 published case reports of intracranial self-stabbing since 1960. Intracranial self-stabbing was associated with a diagnosis of a psychotic illness in 27 of 49 (55%) cases in which a diagnosis was available. Intracranial self-stabbing was not always performed with the intention of committing suicide and does not usually have a fatal outcome.
Conclusions: Intracranial self-stabbing appears to be an under-recognized form of self-harm that is associated with, but not limited to, psychotic illness.