Self Injurious Behavior Definition : Self-injury (self-harm, self-inflicted violence, self- mutilation) can be defined as the attempt to deliberately cause harm to one's own body and the injury is usually severe enough to cause tissue damage. This is not a conscious attempt at suicide, though some people may see it that way. Most commonly known as “cutting”. Other forms of self injurious behavior: burning, branding, punching, pinching, head banging, hair pulling, scab picking, bruising oneself and drinking harmful/painful chemicals.
Why Do Teens Self-Injure: Self-injury is their way to cope with or relieve painful, hard-to-express, or overwhelming negative emotions/feelings. Teenagers often report they have no adult to talk with or people who accept them for who they are. Set off by certain events.
Why Do Teens Self-Injur : Teens don’t know how to express regarding anger and sadness. They turn emotional pain on themselves. Anger from emotional to physical.
Types of Self Injury: The rarest and most extreme form is Major self- mutilation. This form usually results in permanent disfigurement, i.e. limb amputation Second type is Stereo-typic self-mutilation which usually consists of head banging, eyeball pressing and biting. The third and most common form is Superficial self-mutilation which usually involves cutting, burning, hair-pulling, bone breaking, hitting, interference with wound healing and basically any method used to harm oneself.
Facts & Research Facts & Research estimated 1% of the US population and rising – population currently 300 million - higher proportion of females than males onset of self injury is at puberty middle to upper class average to high intelligence, and has low self-esteem
Injurers Background Sexual abuse Physical abuse Unstable home life- “lack of love” Family substance abuse issues Learned from a friend “contagious” Early childhood loss : mother, father, close relative Bullied at school Feelings of helplessness Depression Mental Health diagnosis
Why Injure??? It's a way for them to have some control over their own bodies when they feel they can't cope with anything else. Some see it as a way of being able to feel when they feel empty about everything else. Self-injurers commonly report they feel empty inside, over or under stimulated, lonely, and/or not understood by others.
Feelings: Fear of Abandonment Failure (real or imagined) Anger Issues For Comfort As a form of punishment To avoid showing emotions to another person To avoid appearing weak (real or imagined) Hate toward another or hatred toward self Embarrassment Guilt, Fear, Sadness To avoid feeling Overwhelming emotions When all other coping mechanisms no longer work When all other coping mechanisms no longer work When all other coping mechanisms no longer work
Warning Signs Unexplained frequent injuries scars (cuts & burns). Clothing – long pants and sleeves even during warm seasons. Poor school performance. Friendship/relationship problems. Isolation at home.
Why Is It Negative??? Never addresses the true trauma, stress, or unbearable situation that led to initial cutting. Problems remain and tend to get worse. Often the cutting increases as the internal pain continues. Deeper cuts lead to accidental suicide. Scars that remain years after cutting has stopped, causing other “issues”.
Mental Health Concerns: People who self-injure tend to have more psychological problems such as : –Borderline personality disorder –Substance abuse disorders –Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) –Antisocial personality –Eating disorders –Depression –Suicide
You Might Feel: Upset - because they are hurt. Worried - you're not sure how to help. Anger - that they could do something to hurt themselves, or at whatever has made them feel so bad. Frustrated or helpless - because you don't know what to do. Wanting to take care of them all the time. Shocked - at the injury, or you didn't know they felt so bad. Confused - because you don't understand why. Resentful - that they hurt themselves even though you are trying to help. Guilty - for feeling you don't help them. Scared that your friend might damage him or herself seriously or even die. Responsible for how your friend is. Scared about involving someone else and scared if you don't.
What You Can Say: I don’t know how to help you. Is there a way I can help you when it gets bad. I’m sorry you are hurting so much. Can you help me learn more about cutting (self-injury)?
What Not To Say: Why don’t you just stop. You shouldn’t do this. Your life can’t be that bad. I could never do that. That’s disgusting. You’re doing it for attention.
What to do: Educate yourself about cutting (self-injury). Show the person you care. Encourage counseling. Understand that change takes time. Get support for yourself (seek out a counselor to help you!) Your friends safety is important!!!!
What Not To Do: Don’t call it self-mutilation. Don’t threaten. Don’t avoid them. Don’t make person show their scars. Don’t avoid the topic as if not happening. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t force them to talk, just be there when they need you.