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For More Information on Self-Injury Click the Book Below:
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What is Self-Injury?

Self-Injury is the deliberate harm to the self without the intent to commit suicide. It is also referred to as self-abuse, self-harm, self-mutilation, and SI.

Self-injury is often mistaken as a failed suicide attempt, and although there are many self-injurers who are suicidal, research supports that the majority of individuals that self-injure have not considered suicide. Those who engage in self-injurious behavior normally do so as a means of coping.

It is believed by many that individuals that self-injure do so in an attempt to draw attention to themselves or make others feel sorry for them, but those who self-injure often keep their problems a secret even from those very close to them. Self-injurers often go years before anyone has any idea that a problem even exists.

Statistics tend to support the believe that the majority of people that engage in self-injurious behavior have a history of childhood sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse. Not all individuals that self-injure were abused, however, and there are many factors that probably contribute to the development of self-injury.


Common Methods of Self-Injury:

Picking of scabs and healing wounds

Whatever form of self-injury is used, the person is usually left with a calm and peaceful feeling after the act. Since those feelings are only temporary, the person will probably continue to self-injure until they deal with the underlying issues and finds healthier ways to cope.

Different people self-injure for different reasons, and often a combination of reasons is given. Self-injury is often triggered by feelings of guilt, helplessness, rejection, self-hatred, anger, failure and loneliness. Often, although not always, these feelings stem from past or present events, such as domestic violence, death of loved ones, lack of care as a child, parental depression, alcoholism or critical behavior.


Common Reasons for Self-Injury:

Relief from psychological pain or an attempt to move "inner" pain to the outside where it is easier to deal with
Release of anxiety or tension
To escape chronic feelings of numbness or emptiness
An expression of anger towards the self
Punishment for real or imagined wrong doings
A reenactment of abuse suffered in the past
A means of inducing dissociation - or breaking free from a dissociative state

Self-injury is not the 'problem' for many who harm themselves. It is the feelings and reasons behind the cutting that are the source of pain. Many self-injurers find it extremely difficult to express their reasons for self-injury in any detail, which is why therapy can be so very beneficial - though it can take years of hard work to learn new ways of coping with their problems.

Self injurious behavior does NOT categorizes a person as psychotic, suicidal or mentally disturbed. While many people with psychological problems may self-injure, and self-injury is sometimes accompanied by depression or occur as a symptom of another psychiatric disorder, self-injury can and often does exist alone and is a disorder in its own right.


Disorders Associated with Self-Injury:

Borderline and Other Personality Disorders
Addison's Disease
Mental Retardation
Substance Abuse


Secret Scars: Uncovering and Understanding the Addiction of Self-Injury


All information contained in this web site is strictly for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for consultation with your medical doctor or psychiatrist.
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This Site Updated 04/09/11