Self-Harm: Everything You Need to Know

Self-mutilation, often known as self-harm, is the purposeful infliction of physical suffering on oneself. Self-harm may also refer to internal or emotional damage, such as drinking toxic quantities of alcohol or drugs or purposefully engaging in unsafe sex. External self-harm, such as cutting, burning, scratching, and other types of injury, is often referred to as self-harm.

The Causes of Self-Harm in People

Self-injurers may believe that doing so allows them to let go of repressed emotions of worry, rage, or despair. However, research indicates that these unprocessed sentiments will persist over time and could even become worse. They may also be accompanied by extra guilt and shame sensations. In addition, even if someone doesn’t want to injure oneself significantly or permanently, self-harm may still be harmful in and of itself.

Early childhood trauma, such as physical, verbal, or sexual abuse, is often where self-harming behavior originates. It could also signify more severe, trauma-unrelated mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder. Self-harm that appears out of nowhere in certain situations could be an effort to restore control after a highly upsetting experience, such as being attacked or surviving another traumatic incident.

To stop hurting yourself, get assistance. Locate a specialist nearby.

Who is most likely to damage themselves?

According to recent research, rates of self-harm among adolescents and young adults ranged from 6 to 14 percent for adolescent males and 17 to 30 percent for girls. However, adults may self-harm, especially those with a history of self-harm or mental health issues.

Are females more likely to self-harm than boys?

Both males and girls self-harm, although the incidence seems to be greater in girls, who also often begin at a younger age. According to some experts, the self-harming behaviors males are more prone to exhibit, such as striking walls out of rage, may not be identified in extensive surveys.

Does self-harm indicate suicidal tendencies?

No, not always. Self-injury may resemble an attempt at suicide, and some people who self-harm eventually make an actual suicide attempt. However, many of those who purposely harm themselves are not suicidal. Instead, they only attempt to comfort or divert themselves from emotional distress by taking extreme measures.

Self-Harm Symptoms and Signs

Because self-harm is often performed in private and kept a secret out of shame and fear, it might be challenging to tell when someone is harming oneself. When they occur regularly, fresh cuts, scratches, bite marks, and burns may all be indicators of self-injury. Scars, bruises, and bald patches are some additional physical indicators, especially if they show a pattern of recurrent injury.

Other, less visible symptoms might include someone who looks unusually prone to mishaps or who wears long sleeves and slacks even in warm weather; these actions could be efforts to hide self-injury. People who self-harm may also display symptoms of depression or emotional instability, such as making remarks about how worthless or hopeless they feel.

How can I identify cutting in my adolescence?

Since self-harming behavior often occurs in private or places where it is simple to conceal, it may be challenging to identify. Unidentified wounds or clusters of cuts, wristbands, long sleeves (even in the heat), bandages, or increased anxiety or despair, are all potential warning signs.

Do self-harmers experience pain?

In general, yes. Recent neurological research, however, points to a greater pain threshold among self-harmers. In addition, those who self-harm generally find comfort in pain rather than reacting adversely to it.

My adolescent looks at self-harm websites. Do I need to worry?

According to research, young people who access self-harm websites are 11 times more likely to have considered harming themselves than those who haven’t. Parents may identify whether their adolescent may be self-harming by starting a nonjudgmental discussion about the websites and mental health in general.

Self-harm websites: are they dangerous?

It varies. Some websites that deal with self-harm and suicide are against these practices and provide tools to aid people. Others, however, glorify self-harm or suicide or provide details on how to hide or engage in other risky self-harm activities.

How to Prevent Someone From Injuring Theirself

First and foremost, anybody who is battling self-harm should get assistance. Most often, this is a self-injury-focused therapist who may assist the person in comprehending the underlying reasons for their behavior and developing healthy coping skills.

Friends, lovers, and other dependable family members may also be of assistance. Even if self-harm isn’t explicitly mentioned, chatting with a close friend or loved one about one’s thoughts might assist reduce the temptation to self-harm and aid in making sense of troubling emotions.

How can I help a loved one who is self-harming?

The first step is to respond compassionately and acknowledge that self-harm is an effort to deal with unpleasant emotions. Next, support the individual in seeking assistance, help them discover healthier ways to express their negative emotions (like exercise), and be available to talk about any challenging feelings they may be going through.

How can I lessen the temptation to injure myself?

Self-harming behavior may be decreased by recognizing and, where feasible, avoiding self-harm triggers. It may also be beneficial to substitute self-soothing hobbies like painting, having a hot shower, or exercising for self-harm.

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