Why do People Indulge in Self Harm

March 12, 2021

Why do People Indulge in Self Harm

Mental Health

Have you ever wondered why someone would want to harm him or her? Won’t it hurt? Can’t they just stop it? Self harm may sound like a nonsense thought but those who do it have their reasons. It could be an outcome of a trauma or emotional turmoil resulting from fear, sadness, anger, and revenge among other triggers.

Why Someone Would Self Harm

Researchers suggest, “Self-harm does not often simply follow the wish to die. Those who self-harm may do so to communicate with others or influence them to secure help or care. They may self-harm to obtain relief from a particular emotional state or overwhelming situation.”

When emotions arise, they affect the whole body. The effect is so intense in people who have experienced traumas or adversity that they find it hard to control. Unable to understand how to cope with these overwhelming emotions, they resort to self-harm. As psychologists suggest, some self harm victims feel as if their minds are constantly yelling at her. They find self harm or self punishment as the only way to stop the emotions from aggravating further. They perceive it as a way to relieve the pain emerging from their emotional memories.

“In particular, people who harm themselves as a way of relieving distress (through cutting, for example) might be compelled to do this as a coping strategy to prevent suicide. They are likely to continue to need to do this until they receive appropriate and sufficient psychotherapeutic interventions and support, they add.

How to Indentify Self Harm Behavior

The following signs or symptoms may indicate self harming tendency:

  • Fresh cuts, bite marks, scratches, bruises, and/or other wounds
  • Scars, especially when they appear in patterns
  • Wearing long pants, long sleeves, even in hot weather
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Frequent incidents of accidental injury
  • Rubbing excessively in an area to create a burn
  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Emotional or behavioral and emotional impulsivity, unpredictability and instability
  • Displaying thoughts and statements of hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness

Coping with Self Harm Tendency

It is possible to unlearn and replace self-harm with healthier ways, but it requires will power and medical assistance. Treating the underlying trauma (responsible for self harm) should be the first priority to deal with the problem.

The treatment should aim at helping people work through their sadness, blocked anger, fear and disgust as these feelings are associated with challenging life circumstances such as emotional or physical neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse, bullying, feeling too much pressure and more. All people need to learn how to safely experience the emotions that life’s challenges bring. Individuals should be motivated to practice effective ways to calm their emotional overwhelm to control the urge to self harm. It may include:

  • Deep breathing
  • Taking a hot shower
  • Getting out into nature
  • Finding comfort in the company of those who have overcome the similar problems
  • Reminding them their strengths 

Seek Help

While family and friends’ support is pivotal in overcoming self harm tendency, immediate medical attention may be required in case of severe injury. In such situation, call our 24/7 Live Admission Help (866) 548-0190 for prompt help.

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