Self injurious behaviour in people with learning disabilities can have a major impact on quality of life, in addition to physical harm. Positive behaviour approaches have been showing some degree of success in supporting people with self injurious behaviour, and this case study investigated the possibility of combining pharmacological strategies with positive behaviour support plans.
The researchers worked with a woman with severe learning disabilities and self injurious behaviour to look at the effects of adding Naltrexone to a positive behaviour support plan. Naltrexone is an opioid receptor antagonist used mainly for the management of alcohol and opioid drug dependency by decreasing the craving for such substances.
They found tentative evidence of positive treatment effects and suggest that their findings have implications for future prescribing practice of Naltrexone and other medications in combination with positive behaviour support planning.
This finding is obviously tentative at present and based on a single case study, but the authors suggest their findings point to the need for further investigation.
Combining pharmacological and positive behavioural support strategies in the treatment of self-injury, Baker P et al., in International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 2, 1, 11-18(8)