Have you seen someone slashing, cutting, inflicting pain to himself or herself? In the starting phase of my clinical career I was awe-struck and shocked one day. I saw a teenager bleeding profusely. He had self-mutilated his wrists and hands…neither once, nor twice but multiple times. Frankly speaking, I could not take up that case as it was too alarming for me. I referred the case. When I intervened later, I got to know that he suffered from huge psychological distress. He was offered extensive psycho-therapies and support. Finally he got well.

My therapy board today is thronged with many clients who suffer from self-harming behavior. The worst sufferers of it are mostly teenagers. When in normal conditions even a pin-prick hurts a lot, the question that arises is how can a person move about and harm himself/herself so badly? There are actually deep-seated factors in it, more than you can see. Let me tell you more about self-harming behavior.

As the name suggests, self-harming behavior is the act of causing harm or injury to oneself through different means. Though, the forms and means of self-harming behavior can vary from person to person, yet you should know that it has an underlying psychological issue for sure. Therefore, self-harm is something that is visible on the body, but is connected to one’s mind.

Self-Harming behaviors:

  • Cutting
  • Hand or wrist slashing
  • Self-mutilation in different parts of the body
  • Verbal or behavioral abuse of self
  • Addiction, like drugs/alcohol
  • Disturbing or refraining from one’s sleep, food and leading a sedentary lifestyle

Self-harming behavior has a deep-rooted psychological cause. It is very necessary to know about the psychological causes of self-harming behavior. This is a significant requirement because if the psychological issue goes un-treated or unresolved then in worst cases self-harming behavior can transform itself into clinical depression and suicide.

Underlying Psychological Causes of Self-Harming Behavior:

  • Faulty coping to life’s stressors and pressures
  • Stress, anxiety and depression
  • Personality Issues
  • Low self-confidence, low self-esteem and sense of self
  • Lack of feeling accepted in one’s family, peer group or social circle
  • Aggression and agitation
  • Clinical psychological disorders, hallucinations and delusions

How to deal with Self-Harming Behaviour:

  • Learn adaptive ways of dealing with the stressors and pressures of life
  • Try to pacify your anger and aggression surge. Practice of self-control. Thinking about alternative healthy behavior and relaxation techniques often help in this case
  • Believing in yourself, developing a strong and dynamic personality
  • Self-care: Maintaining a good physical and sound emotional health
  • Abstinence from alcohol and drug abuse
  • Communicating or sharing your feelings with someone who understands you
  • Proper treatment: If the self-harming behavior is too chronic, acute or if it is caused due to clinical categories of psychological ailments

If you or any of your loved one is suffering from self-harming behavior, then please don’t neglect it. Apart from psychological interventions the person needs intense care, support and empathetic understanding of one and all. Self-harming behavior is undoubtedly treatable and often clients lead a magnificently healthy life after proper treatment.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you or any of your near and dear ones are ailing from self-harm behavior. A strong and right decision taken by you can save a life for a lifetime.

Best Wishes,
Sareeta