Self-harming is a very serious condition that many teenagers experience as a side effect to larger emotional or mental issues that they may be dealing with. It is generally defined as inflicting harm upon one’s body without the intention of committing suicide. In the past, it was dismissively thought of to be a kind of attention-seeking behavior, but as we learn more about it, we discover that this is often untrue. More often than not, a child who inflicts self-harm is using it as a coping mechanism to help deal with some kind of internal stress. Without addressing these root causes, it is very possible for this pattern of self-harm to continue and even escalate.
A vast majority of self-harm is done by inflicting cuts or stab wounds on the body with some kind of sharp object, a method often called cutting. These wounds are usually shallow and superficial, placed in areas that can easily be covered up and hidden from others. However, as the self-harm continues, a sufferer may become more inventive, also choosing to inflict self-harm with burning, poisoning, or embedding objects in their bodies, all of which can cause infection, medical complications, or even accidental death. A person suffering from extreme anxiety, depression, and people often exposed to emotional abuse may turn to self-harm as a way to escape from their current inner pain.
Currently, self-harm is not seen as a disorder in its own right, but as a symptom of a larger psychological problem. Many sufferers and psychologists are currently trying to dispute this classification, as self-harming can often occur when other problems have yet to develop. It is, in many ways, a cry for help before a person is pushed to even greater psychological extremes. For many self-harmers, inflicting pain on themselves is a way to exert control over any pain they may be feeling in their life. It can also be a way to try and feel anything at all for sufferers who may also be experiencing emotional numbness due to some kind of deeper trauma. It can become an addicting activity for many sufferers because for them, it helps with their current pain.
Here at GoMentor.com, we understand that self-harming or self-injury is a serious sign of emotional disturbance. Together with trained counselors, your family can sort out the source of your child’s pain and how best to approach their treatment without causing additional stress that could trigger escalating behavior. Our online forum can also help the person who feels driven to self-harm to understand why they are feeling that compulsion and how best to redirect that energy and resolve those underlying issues.