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"Unveiling the Truth About Self-Harm: Understanding the Reality"

Unbelievably, more people than you might expect to suffer from self-harm. The temptation to self-harm is not uncommon, although people usually keep it a secret, especially teenagers or young adults. Regardless of the duration of self-harming activity, mental health best outcomes and supportive care are paramount.  


What Is Self-Harm?

When you intentionally hurt yourself, it's called self-harm. Self-harming behavior refers to any deliberate, non-suicidal action that inflicts physical harm to oneself. It's important to note that self-harm is typically not a suicide attempt but rather a way for some individuals to cope with overwhelming emotions, distress, or difficult life situations. Self-harm can take many forms, including:

  • Cutting or scratching: This is one of the most common forms of self-harm, where individuals intentionally cut or scratch their skin with sharp objects.

  • Burning: Some people may burn themselves with cigarettes, lighters, or other hot objects as a way to cope with emotional pain.

  • Hitting or punching oneself: This can involve hitting or punching one's body, head, or other body parts as a way to express or cope with intense emotions.

  • Hair pulling (trichotillomania): Trichotillomania is a condition characterized by recurrent pulling out of one's hair, often resulting in noticeable hair loss.

  • Biting: Biting oneself, particularly the hands or arms, can be a form of self-harm for some individuals.


Why do people self-harm?

Often extreme stress/anxiety, or trauma is the cause for self-harming behaviors. The intensity of various life stressors including family dysfunction, bullying, and physical/emotional abuse can build such that a person is tempted to injure themselves in an attempt to release the pressure. The reasons why certain persons self-harm can differ greatly from those of others. In young people the following are triggers or causes that commonly cause them to self-harm:

  • family problems

  • disagreements or issues among friends/peers

  • pressures at school (ie academic performance or social pressure)

  • mistreatment

  • sadness 

  • fear 

  • low opinion of oneself 

  • shifts and adjustments, including transferring schools. 

  • use of drugs and alcohol.

  • Shame 


What To Do When Someone Self-Harms:

  1. Acknowledge and validate the person is hurting

  2. Don’t judge

  3. Listen 

  4. Get help. Call the crisis hotline at 602-222-9444,or go to the ER or local behavioral health hospital.

  5. Always remember to treat the person that has self harmed with compassion and understanding.  

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