What is self-harm?

What is self-harm?

Defining self-harm

Self-harm have been defined by different reliable sources and out of them all i decided to make a choice, so, What is self-harm?. An individual who deliberately damages or injures his or her body is said to be self-harming, according to the NHS. A person may self-harm in order to cope with difficult feelings or memories, or in order to cope with overwhelming experiences or situations. The act of deliberately injuring one self does not necessarily constitute an attempt or indicate suicide or suicidal intent. As a coping mechanism or a means of expressing negative emotions, it is commonly referred to as a habit. It is well known, however, that self-harm has very harmful physical effects, and people who repeatedly deliberately injure themselves are at an increased risk of suicide than the general population as a result.

It is also relevant to note that, although self-harm can provide a sense of short-term relief, the primary cause of distress will not disappear as soon as it is committed, and self-harm can also surface difficult emotions that can further exacerbate someone’s distress. When someone starts self-harming, it may take a long time before they are able to stop. Self-harm develops as a coping mechanism. The frequency with which someone self-harms can vary, from several times a year to several times a day. The prevalence of self-harm among adolescents and young adults is 13 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

It is pertinent to note that self-harm is not a condition or diagnosis (like, for example, depression or anxiety). Instead, self-harm is a behavior that can be associated with many different conditions.

The video below features Jake Sparks, a therapist, explaining how self-harm is defined, and how it manifests for different individuals.

Sunrise Residential Treatment Centre was kind enough to provide this video for us.

People’s experiences of self-harm differ, and so the reasons why someone self-harms will be unique to them. It is critical to remember that people deliberately injure themselves as a way of coping with difficult or stressful emotions and situations. It is imperative to treat people who self-harm with respect and compassion. As a healthcare professional, you are in a position of significant power to support them.

In the below video, provided by the mental health charity Mind, four people- Ben, Lechelle, Debbie, and Zainab- with experience of self-harm discuss their stories. As you watch this video, reflect on the reasons given for self-harm. In particular, consider whether there is anything discussed that surprises you. What role might you play as a healthcare professional in supporting the people in this video in regard to their experiences of deliberately injure themselves?

Mind, thank you for sharing this video.

Self-harm in different forms

There are many ways in which one can self-harm. It’s common for some people to use the same method of self-harm all the time, while others use various ways of deliberately injure themselves at different stages of their lives. Deliberately injuring one self might be committed in the following ways:

  1. An act that involves cutting, burning, biting, scratching, or picking at the skin

  2. Pulling your hair out

  3. The act of punching or hitting oneself or another object, such as a wall

  4. Banging your head

  5. Taking tablets or chemicals and poisoning oneself

  6. Alcoholism, prescription drug abuse, or recreational drug use

  7. Neither eating enough nor eating too much

  8. Exercise to the point of exhaustion

  9. Getting into fights with the intention of getting hurt

  10. Neglecting one’s own well-being

  11. There is sometimes a term referred to as an overdose due to the consumption of too many tablets

  12. Your body is being pierced with sharp objects

  13. Healing wounds without letting them heal

Self-harm Behaviors in Teenagers: Risks, Statistics, Signs, and Symptoms

Sufferers of self-harm may exhibit the following symptoms:

Those who deliberately injure themselves often feel ashamed, frightened, or anxious about what other people will think, so they hide it. There are some signs of self-harm that you should be aware of, although it can be difficult to determine if someone is self-harming. When self-harming, someone may:

  • Experience cuts, bruises, burns, or other unexplained injuries. The most common locations for these are the arms, legs, or torso. It is recommended that people with self-harm injuries or scars keep their faces covered whenever possible, including when it is hot outside.

  • Having signs of alcoholism or drug abuse

  • When hair is pulled, there are signs of baldness

  • Speak with feelings of self-hatred or a wish to punish oneself

  • A withdrawal can manifest itself through a lack of social contact with family and friends, and a lack of involvement in usual hobbies and social activities.

  • Become secretive about their eating habits, or show changes in their eating habits

  • Demonstrate symptoms of depression, such as low mood, lack of interest in usual hobbies and activities, or increased tears.

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