By: Julia Keys
Self-harm is the act of intentionally injuring oneself without intending suicide. Self-harming behaviors may include, but are not limited to: cutting, scratching, burning, banging/bruising or interference with an injury so that it cannot heal. Self-harm has become a huge concern within the adolescent demographic. Research shows that girls are more likely than boys to self-harm. A recent study shows that up to 17% of teenagers self-harm. To many others who do not self-harm, the act of intentionally hurting oneself may be perplexing, however there are many reasons why people self-harm.
The root of self-harming behavior stems from a lack of healthy coping mechanisms. Oftentimes people turn to self-harm when they have overwhelming feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, or guilt that they do not know how to express. Some self-harm as an act of release, similar to crying or screaming. Once they self-harm, the body releases endorphins which are the body’s natural painkillers, giving the individual feelings of relaxation or happiness. Sometimes people self-harm because they “feel numb”, and harming themselves makes them feel alive.
Here are some signs someone you love may be self-harming:
- Unexplained cuts, bruises or marks
- Patterns of parallel cuts or scars
- Sudden change in mood
- Wearing clothing inappropriate to the weather in an attempt to cover certain parts of the body
- Secretive behavior
- Self-isolating behavior
While self-harm is usually not an attempt at suicide, it is a very serious sign of emotional distress. If you are struggling with self-harm or know someone struggling with self-harm, here are some resources you may find helpful.
Self-Harm Hotline: 1-800-DON’T-CUT (1-800-366-8288)
Self-Harm Text Hotline: Text CONNECT to 741741 in the United States.
If you or a loved one is struggling with self-harm, do not hesitate to seek help by contacting Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .
Source for Picture: