By: Liz Lynch
Self-harming is classified by the Statistical and Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as non-suicidal self-injury disorder (NSSID). It is an actual disorder that many people often write off as an angsty teens way of getting attention. While self-harming often starts in the teenage years it can persist long into adulthood which has a number of physical, emotional, and social consequences. To most people self-harming is an obvious thing not to do; however, what they don’t realize is that self-harming releases soothing, pain-killing chemicals such as endorphins and endocannabinoids which brings on a feeling of relief.
Why doesn’t everyone do it then? Well research suggests that people who self-harm have significantly lower levels of these naturally produced endorphins. This mean that some people are in a way compensating for these lower levels by self-harming just to feel “normal” without even realizing it. This disorder can bring on a lot of shame and guilt for the sufferer causing them to hide their personal abuse making it more difficult to identify and aid.
Types of Self-harming:
- Hitting or punching one’s self
- Banging head or other body parts against another surface
- Piercing the skin with sharp objects (not including body jewelry)
- Pulling out hair
- Abusing alcohol / medication
Reasons people self-harm:
- Provides them with temporary relief of negative emotions
- Provides them with a distraction from chaotic thoughts and emotions
- Provides them with a sense of control
- Form of self-punishment from guilt or shame
- Sees it as a way to express emotions
Need Immediate Aid?
- Call 911
- Call 1-800-273-TALK (24-hour hotline)
- Text the Crisis Line at 741741 (24-hour text line)
- For therapy see information below
If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from self-harm, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/
- Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/insaneLAUGHTER/no-bullying/