Self-harm is defined as the intentional damaging of one’s body.
The reasons that provoke self-harm are complicated and numerous.
Self-harm can be a response to a wide variety of emotions and circumstances.
Some of the reasons for self-harm include:
- Coping with emotional distress
- A cry for help
- Relieving tension
- A form of self-punishment
- A response to intrusive thoughts
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Self-harm, whilst complex, can occur more commonly in certain types of people.
Of these, perhaps the most common group is teenagers and young adults.
Adolescence can be a time of extreme emotional confusion for many, and some may see self-harm as the only way out of this distress.
Whilst appearing in both men and women, self-harm is also something more commonly observed in females.
Working professionals may also turn to self-harm, however, perhaps as a response to stress or feelings of inadequacy.
Self-harm and suicide
However, accidental injury can lead to dangerous complications.
If you fear that either you or a loved one has a potentially lethal injury, call 999 immediately.
If the injury has occurred to a loved one, remain with them while the ambulance arrives.
It is important to remain calm and to resist the temptation to become angry or to yell.
A correlation has also been drawn between those who self-harm and those who commit suicide later on.
Whilst this does not include all who self-harm, it stands as another clear reminder as to the seriousness of self-harming.
What treatments are available?
Many treatments surrounding self-harm occur on the personal level, often involving simple yet highly effective exercises that anyone can conduct either alone or with somebody else.
The simplest of these is to just talk about how you are feeling with another person.
This might be a friend, family member or volunteer.
Samaritans offer a free and confidential helpline and email address which anyone can contact free of charge.
Another effective solution is self-analysis; engage with your emotions when the urge to self-harm arises.
It may be the case that you can identify what is provoking the desire to self-harm and express that emotion in a safer way.
This could be artistic expression, listening to music or redirecting your emotions elsewhere.
Where can you seek help?
If you believe that you or someone close to you is self-harming, it is normal to be concerned or anxious.
Fortunately, there are a wealth of resources that can help.
A good starting point will always be a consultation with a GP, as well as the advice and links laid out in this article.
When treating a phycological addiction, it can be tough to decide on the best option for you or loved one.
The Executive Rehab Guide recommends Castle Craig Hospital, whose state-of-the-art treatment has helped over 100,000 people on their way to recovery from addiction and psychological unwellness.
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