Self-harm, or an injury inflicted on oneself, often by cutting or burning, is generally a sign of intense inner turmoil, anxiety, and/or suppressed emotions. Self-injuring behavior is not the same as a suicide attempt: Though some individuals who self-harm may attempt suicide, in general, acts of self-harm do not indicate a desire to end one’s life. A person might harm him or herself to express pain, anxiety, or other emotions or to maintain a feeling of control over his or her body when other situations in life seem outside his or her control. This behavior often develops in adolescence and, if left untreated, may continue for many years.
Ways of self-harming can include:
- cutting yourself
- poisoning yourself
- over-eating or under-eating
- biting yourself
- picking or scratching at your skin
- burning your skin
- inserting objects into your body
- hitting yourself or walls
- exercising excessively
- pulling your hair
- getting into fights where you know you will get hurt.