6 Things to Know About Self-Injury | Mental Health America

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6 Things to Know About Self-Injury

For Non-Suicidal Self Injury:

1.It is not done to get attention or be dramatic 

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Individuals that hurt themselves often try to hide their behaviors, because they are ashamed. These behaviors are most often used as a method to handle stress, and not because these individuals want more attention. 

2. People often do it to relieve stress or discomfort.

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Individuals that hurt themselves have said that it helps them to obtain relief from negative feelings, and other forms of stress. In addition to this, individuals say that this is a way to have control over their body when they cannot control other parts of their life. 


3. There are various types 

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Skin cutting is the most common form of nonsuicidal self-injury, but it is not the only one. Head banging, hitting, and burning are also examples of NSSIs, and most individuals who participate in nonsuicidal self-injury use multiple methods.


4. Viewing content online about self-harm can be a trigger for offline behavior 

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Research suggests that viewing content about self-harm, particularly on social media, can encourage individuals to replicate the behavior, if they have had a problem with it in the past. Indeed, research indicates that youth that visit these websites are 11 times more likely to have thoughts about hurting themselves. 


5. Self-harming individuals often try to hide their behaviors

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Individuals that self-harm often suffer from shame because of their behaviors, and they try to hide them. For this reason, it can be difficult to determine whether or not someone is participating in self-harming behaviors. Some signs that someone may be self-harming are: (1) unexplained cuts, bruising, scars, healing or healed wounds, (2) stories that may explain one, but not all, physical injuries (i.e., “The cat scratched me.”), (3) constantly wearing wristbands, watchbands, or large bracelets, and (4) frequent bandages or other methods of covering wounds.


6. Treatment most often involves therapy and/or medication

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Since self-harming behaviors are most often used to cope with feelings or stress, therapy is used to help these individuals develop better ways to deal with these feelings. Medication is sometimes used either separately or in addition to therapy, in order to help reduce obsessive thoughts and behaviors, and to improve mood. 


Learn more about self-injury and how to get help:

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 Alexandria, VA 22314

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