What Is Self-Injury?
Individuals who engage in self-injurious behaviors often harm their own bodies to relieve emotional pain. Although death is not usually the goal, self-injurious behaviors are associated with a high risk of suicide. People may engage in the behaviors secretly and often experience immense shame about their actions. Many individuals who engage in self injury want to stop their behaviors. However, the urge often becomes so intense that relief is only experienced once doing it again. The routine then results in more guilt and shame, and these feelings can perpetuate a vicious and destructive cycle.
Self injury can take on many forms. It may include behaviors like cutting, burning, punching, pulling out hair, breaking bones, or poking. It can start at any point in one’s life, although the first behaviors tend to begin in adolescence or young adulthood. Some people engage in self injury one or a few times. Others engage in it more compulsively and find it difficult to stop.
What Causes People To Engage In Self-Injury?
Many individuals engage in self injury because it provides an immediate sense of relief for symptoms related to depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, or shame. Sometimes, it can also offer a brief coping solution for a specific problem. Many people will say that focusing on physical pain helps eliminate or reduce emotional pain. It can also be a function of self-punishment for people who have experienced trauma. However, this strategy doesn’t actually eliminate or reduce emotional pain as it only delays and prolongs it.
How I Can Help You Overcome Self-Injury Patterns
It is possible to overcome the urges to engage in self injury. Therapy can offer you relief and practical coping skills that increase your tolerance to cope with intense emotions. Together, we will learn about how your self-injury behaviors aim to protect vulnerable, hurt parts of self, and we will find healthier ways to manage problems when they arise. We will also develop a roadmap that enables you to build emotional regulation and distress tolerance skills as well as create a greater sense of self-acceptance.