Self-injury (AKA self-injury or self-mutilation) is the act of physically hurting yourself on purpose without the intent of committing suicide.
It is a method used to cope during an emotionally difficult time to help people temporarily feel better because they can physically express and release tension and pain they have inside.
Research also shows that chemical changes in the bodies of those who participate in self-injury make them feel happier and more relaxed.
Types of self-harm
CuttingThis way of self-mutilation only occurred 1 in 3 students who reported self-injury. Cutting is more common among females.
Making impact with objectsThis self-harm behavior includes banging or punching objects to the point of bruising or bleeding - This way to self-harm was seen in just over 37% of the self-harming students.
Scratching or PinchingThis behavior includes using fingernails or other objects to severely scratch or pinch to the point that bleeding or scarring occurs. This method of self-injury was seen in more than half of all students who report participating in self-harm.
Ripped SkinThis way of self-mutilation includes ripping or tearing skin. This type of injury was seen in just under 16% of those admitted to self-harming behaviors.
CarvingThis type of self-harm is when a person carves words or symbols into the skin, this is separate from cutting. This method was identified by just under 15% of those who self-harm.
DermatillomaniaCompulsive skin picking.
Interfering with HealingIn this case, a person purposefully hampers the healing of a wound, this way is often in combination with other types of self-harm. This method was used by 13.5% of respondents.
BurningBurning skin is a way of self-mutilation. This was seen in 12.9% of students who self-harmed.
Rubbing Objects into the SkinThis type of self-harm involves the rubbing of sharp objects, such as glass, into the skin. 2% of responding students used this way to self-harm
Hair PullingMedically known as "Trichotillomania", it is when a person feels so compelled to pull out their own hair and in some cases even ingest that hair. This was seen in 11% of students who self-harmed
How you can help
Self-Injuries are behaviors that are done with the intent to hurt oneself. Stopping this behavior once you've started can be problematic. Some people may self-injure only one time, while most will engage in self harm behaviors multiple times. This behavior may last years because many find it extremely difficult to stop self harm.
It is possible to change self harm behaviors, though, many things need to change.
- The environment (part of what causes, or allows for, self-harm)
- A support system (support of others or lack thereof that allows for self-harm)
- Thought patterns (negative thoughts that lead to self-injury)
The above information was disseminated from published material by Natasha Tracy at HEALTHY PLACE (2013).
The information on this website is not meant as a substitute for qualified professional advice.