Self-harm – what does it really mean?

Self-harm is when a person consciously inflicts pain on themselves. However, it can also be associated with their desire not to live. In any case, it is necessary to help both yourself and your friend in this situation.

When a person harms themselves, it may be the case that they do not want to talk about it, hide their wounds and avoid the topic. This is perfectly normal because self-harming is not something to boast about or show to others. Discussing the issue and finding a solution can be difficult. People who self-harm often find it hard to stop scratching or cutting themselves or thinking about suicide because they have become addicted to it.

Self-harm is when a person:

  • cuts or scratches their skin;
  • burns themselves;
  • hits themselves or bangs their head against the wall or objects;
  • hits or throws themselves against objects;
  • pokes needles etc through or into their skin;
  • prevents wounds from healing and scratches their wounds;
  • ingests objects or toxic substances; and
  • consciously and intentionally puts themselves in danger: unsafe driving, binge eating, drug or alcohol use, unsafe sexual contact.

Self-harm is quite similar in nature to the addictive behaviours mentioned above. When we feel pain, the body starts to produce pain-relieving feel-good hormones called endorphins. Endorphins and the justification the person has created in their head to self-harming develop a strong, addictive habit.

Written based on Peaasi.

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