Ninety-six successive acute psychiatric admissions were assessed with regard to dress, level of hygiene, the presence of tattoos, bodily piercing/decoration and surface marks of self-harm. These features were also examined in relation to ICD–10 category diagnosis. One-third were described as ‘dishevelled’, 21% ‘unclean’, 7% had multiple pierced ears and 3% other pierced body parts. Sixteen per cent had tattoos, rising to 34% in the F10–19 (substance misuse) category, and 15% had scars of self-harm. People with schizophrenia and related disorders were more likely to present in an unclean state. Those with personality disorders were no more likely to bear the scars of self-harm, tattoos or body piercing.
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