Self-Mutilation: Why They Do It

By: James Pendergraft

Self-mutilation comes in many names – self-harm, self-cutting, self-injury. But regardless what the act is called, it all boils down to one thing – the deliberate infliction of damage to one’s skin tissues for reasons other than suicide.

Self-mutilation is quite popular among teens. Between men and women, women do it more frequently. Self-mutilation is the process of injuring one’s self, which is actually a problem associated with one’s behavior and mind.

What Are The Reasons For Self-Mutilation?

While there could be a hundred reasons why a person chooses to inflict wounds, the most common one is mounting agitation. When a person gets very angry, she would attempt to vent it into something or someone. It is not very unlikely that she’ll turn to herself to release her anger if she can’t find anything or anybody else to direct it to. Inflicting pain towards one’s self is a method of expelling tension and anxiety.

Some people find joy in mutilating themselves. For some reason, they find cutting their skin as an enjoyable act. They take pleasure in the jolt of pain that they feel as they glide a sharp object along the length of their arms. They also get happiness just by looking at the blood as it seeps out of the cut.

When a person feels gratified by the act of self-mutilation, they become addicted to it. They will experience an irresistible need to cut themselves from time to time, especially if there are anger or anxiety triggers. Self-mutilation is usually done in private, although it is possible for a person to do it in the company of another, with both of them enjoying the act.

What Can Be Done About It?

Since self-mutilation is most popular among teens, parents should be the first persons to be aware about it. They should be able to detect the problem at hand through the warning signs. Parents who see scar marks, carvings, brandings, bruising, and bites on their teens should be immediately concerned. It is best that they talk to their child and seek the help of a health expert.

Since self-mutilation is considered to be a psychological problem, it should be addressed by a qualified psychiatrist. The treatment procedure involves behavioral correction techniques and stress-management strategies. Therapies should be conducted on a regular basis, up until full recovery is achieved.

Self-help is also possible, and this is most applicable to adults who want to rid themselves of their destructive self-mutilation habits. Here are some tips that can help:

1. Try to find the strength inside you to keep yourself from cutting.
2. Calm your nerves by counting down from ten down to one.
3. Focus your senses and attention into something else. This will distract your mind from entertaining thoughts about self-mutilation.
4. Breathe slowly. Breathe through your nose and release air through the mouth.
5. Keep all blades and sharp objects out of reach, preferably in some place locked.
6. Use a felt-tip pen instead of a knife if you can’t control the urge of cutting yourself.
7. Find other ways to vent frustration and anger, like hitting a punching bag or squeezing a stress ball.

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