The act of deliberately causing injury to the body without intention of suicide is self injury. Some of the behaviors which are considered to be self injury include burning, hitting the body, banging against other objects, pulling out the hair, or scratching. Although the intention is not suicidal, in extreme cases, self injury can be life threatening. There are also cases where self injury can eventually lead to suicide. Some of the common symptoms found in patients who indulge in self harm are depression, abuse, anxiety, eating disorders, stress disorders, and personality disorders. Self injury is viewed as a mechanism to cope with certain intense emotional feeling but it’s not considered to be suicidal behavior.
Factors that Lead People to Self Injure
Factors which can lead to self injury are mental illness, psychological factors, hereditary causes, drugs, and alcohol. Some of the psychological disorders which can increase the risk of self harming tendency are anti social personality disorder, dissociative disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, and depression. Individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder indulge in nail biting and hair pulling. While genes can also contribute to the risk of developing anxiety, it’s not directly related to the condition.
Ways to Help
Self harm awareness programs can prevent such cases. When parents suspect that their kids are indulging in self injury, they should consult a professional to diagnose the disorder. If you think someone is self injuring, you should try to prevent the condition by taking the person to a psychiatrist. Sometimes, some people harm themselves to gain attention but generally, it can be cured. Anti-depressant drugs are administered by medical practitioners to control the psychological disorder, which in turn reduces the tendency for the patient to self injure. In more severe cases, these people are hospitalized to provide stability.
People who suffer from self injury must take heart that they are not alone. There are many people who have fought and conquered the illness with great success. Barb Bergman found out that her daughter was injuring herself by secretly reading her journal. She discovered that her teenage daughter was suffering greatly because she saw how her father was mistreating her mother. She injured herself by scratching herself with sharp objects to “make the pain go away”. After counseling, Barb’s daughter has stopped injuring herself.
Then, there’s the story of Kiley who started hurting herself when she was a junior at high school. The catalyst was an emotional breakup with her boyfriend. Kiley started using a needle to poke herself but later used razorblades to cut her body. When her mother found out, she went for counseling and she’s all clean now. There are many emotional stories that few have been brave enough to share for the hopes that they may help others. Here are just a few: