Wednesday, April 10, 2019

I - Injuring Yourself/Self-Harm #MentalHealthAwareness

TRIGGER ALERT: The following post talks about ways of self-harm, if you have had a history of self-harm or suicidal tendencies or someone close to you has, please use discretion while reading this or avoid it , as this could act as an unintended trigger.

Nonsuicidal self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's typically not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, this type of self-injury is a harmful way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.

It may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. Although life-threatening injuries are usually not intended, with self-injury comes the possibility of more-serious and even fatal self-aggressive actions.

Signs and symptoms of self-injury may include:

  • Scars, often in patterns
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises, bite marks or other wounds
  • Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • Frequent reports of accidental injury
  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability
  • Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness
Self-injury usually occurs in private and is done in a controlled or ritualistic manner that often leaves a pattern on the skin. Examples of self-harm include:

  • · Cutting (cuts or severe scratches with a sharp object)
  • · Scratching
  • · Burning (with lit matches, cigarettes or heated, sharp objects such as knives)
  • · Carving words or symbols on the skin
  • · Self-hitting, punching or head banging
  • · Piercing the skin with sharp objects
  • · Inserting objects under the skin

Most people who self-injure are teenagers and young adults, although those in other age groups also self-injure. Self-injury often starts in the preteen or early teen years, when emotions are more volatile and teens face increasing peer pressure, loneliness, and conflicts with parents or other authority figures.

Self-injury also may be a reflection of a person's self-hatred. Some self-injurers are punishing themselves for having strong feelings that they were usually not allowed to express as children. They also may be punishing themselves for somehow being bad and undeserving. These feelings are an outgrowth of abuse and a belief that the abuse was deserved.

Although self-inflicted injury may result in life-threatening damage, it is not considered to be suicidal behavior.
If an individual shows signs of self-injury, a mental health professional with self-injury expertise should be consulted. That person will be able to make an evaluation and recommend a course of treatment. Self-injury can be a symptom of psychiatric illness.

Effective treatment of self-injury is most often a combination of medication, cognitive/behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

DISCLAIMER: All the information being provided her has been sourced from the internet and books and some also via personal experiences. It has no medical authentication per se so suggestions if followed must be done in consultation with a trained mental health professional.


This post is a part of April Blogging from A To Z Challenge
You can find all my posts here.


  1. A tough topic to take on and yes, one which even I have avoided in the past... have seen many patients who have come with such injuries. The underlying pain that led them to this phase is what the family often neglects when we take the history... they pretend it was nothing big and the patient was overreacting. The absolute wrong way to help their own loved one...

    1. Yes Roshan this is one of the most painful and yet complex aspects of mental health.

  2. Self injury in teenagers in for real. I have seen in my family. Yes body consciousness, loneliness and peer pressure all things contribute.

    1. People all ages do it but yes younger people are more prone.

  3. Informative. I am glad to gain awareness on this topic

  4. I have known many of my friends to inflict harm on themselves. It's so important to openly talk about this sad practice.

  5. Yes Noor it is indeed a painful and dark space to be in.

  6. I had heard about self-inflicted injuries a decade ago and found hard to believe it till a neighbour's daughter started to pull her hair from her scalp just before exams ( Trichotillomania ). Later my neighbour sought professional help.

    You have dealt with a relevant topic which many dont want to touch it.

    1. Yes it is difficult to come tot verma with something like this.

  7. Anger also sometimes expresses itself in the form of self-injury. There are people whose anger borders on insanity and they harm themselves when they become impotent with rage. The Cuban leader Fidel Castro is known to have once ridden a bicycle full speed into a wall when he was young and was angry. As you say self-injury is the outer expression of some form of internal uncontrollable emotion.

  8. Its so nice of you that you are creating awareness on such topics. Keep the good work going.

  9. Thanks Manas it is a cause close to my heart

  10. This is scary and dangerous especially because this is seen in a lot of young people. Keep up the good work of talking about such issues.

    1. Of course Reema if families are aware a lot of damage can be prevented


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