Self Harm
Self Harm
December 6, 2021

Self Harm

Non-life threatening injuries, typically cutting or burning, done intentionally to oneself

Self harm is defined by non-life threatening injuries, typically cutting or burning, done intentionally to oneself. It is not intended to be suicidal but rather to invoke physical pain in an effort to temporarily relieve intense emotional pain or anger. Self harm is rarely reported by the individual but usually discovered by family members or close friends.


Family and friends of an individuals inflicting self harm may notice any of the following:

  1. Fresh scrapes, bruises or other wounds
  2. Burn marks
  3. Scars that are often in patterns
  4. Frequent “accidental” injuries
  5. Keeping sharp objects on hand
  6. Wearing pants and long sleeves even when it’s hot 
  7. Emotional instability
  8. Statements of despair or self-loathing
  9. Difficulties with relationships

Causes of Self Harm Behaviors

There is no one reason that an individual resorts to harming themself, however the root of the problem is an inability to cope with and manage emotions in an appropriate manner. An individual may be more likely to harm themself if the individual has 

  1. A mental health disorder
  2. Suffered sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
  3. Endured a traumatic event
  4. A friend that self harms
  5. A history of drug and/or alcohol abuse


The most important thing you can do if you or someone you love is harming themself is to seek professional help. Treatment for self harm may include any of the following options:

  • Prescription Medications such as antipsychotics or mood-stabilizing medications to help manage symptoms of an underlying mental health disorder
  • Psychotherapy can be used to help normalize thought patterns and manage emotions through a variety of different methods