Self-harm is the process of purposefully hurting yourself and cutting or burning of skin are the most frequently seen forms of self-harm. When an individual has faced traumatic emotions which feel overwhelming or leaves the person with intense feelings of self-hatred this can lead to acts of self-harm. Through harming themselves physically the individual imagines they have control of the situation and can relieve any overwhelming emotions for this period. However, the emotional escape which comes from self-harming is quickly replaced with emotions of shame and guilt.
Self-harming in children and teenagers can be a call attention or help. While self-harm is not an attempt at suicide it is an extremely destructive and unhealthy act used to cope with an emotional overload of anger, frustration or pain. For those suffering and carrying out acts of self-harm seeing a qualified therapist is a constructive way of handling unhealthy emotions and learning how to cease destructive behaviour.
Signs of self-harming to look out for:
low mood, lack of motivation, lack of interest and depression, self-loathing and being hard on themselves, expressing a wish to end life, withdrawn socially with little interest in speaking to others, low self-esteem seen as self-blaming or expressing feelings of worthlessness, inexplicable cuts, bruises or cigarette burns, usually on their wrists, arms, thighs and chest, staying fully clothed at all times, altered eating habits or being secretive about eating, unusual weight loss or weight gain, pulling out their hair and alcohol or drugs misuse.
Individuals who self-harm use it as a mechanism for coping with overwhelming emotional issues which have often been caused by trauma from having suffered physical or sexual abuse, bereavement or having a miscarriage, psychological related to disassociating (losing touch), or borderline personality disorder which causes self-harm, social problems usually from bullied, work, school or relationships