Self harm is when a person deliberately causes themselves injury. It might be through cutting scratching, taking a drug overdose, picking, tearing or burning skin, pulling out hair or punching walls. Self-harmers do this in order to help themselves cope with their lives. Crying may simply not be enough and hurting yourself makes more sense than hurting other people with the anger, depression and tension building up inside. There is usually an underlying problem which they find difficult to resolve such as a parents divorce or the death of loved one. No matter what the problem is some people find that injuring themselves can help release the anger, frustration and emotions they are experiencing.
Self Harm can have terrible consequences such as permanent scarring and disfigurement, or serious infections and of course tragic consequences such as death and suicide. Most people who self harm want to stop themselves from doing it.
There is help available to people who self harm such as self help groups, counselling therapy and drug treatment. A person does not have to be afraid or embarrassed to seek help or feel isolated and alone. If you know someone close to you who you think is self harming don’t judge the person. Show that you are concerned about them and spend time with the person to gain their confidence. About 1 in 10 young people will self harm at some point in their lives. It is more common in young women than men. If a person self harms regularly it can be difficult to stop with out proper support from health care professionals because the brain releases endorphins which contribute to making self harm addictive but with the right care the behaviour can be unlearned.
Treatment Available To help Stop Self Harming
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
- Hypnosis or other Self Relaxation Techniques
- Medication may be given if a person is also suffering from mild to moderate depression.
www.amberproject.org.uk – Working with Young People who Self Harm
www.nshn.co.uk – National Self Harm Network
www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk – NHS Direct
www.childline.org.uk – Childline
www.scar-tissue.net – Local Self harm site