Why do people self-harm? We might see lines or marks on the hands of our loved ones or someone we see. The first thought that pops up is that the individual must have self-harmed. While often in the form of cuts, self-harm is not limited. It can be burning, punching objects like walls, purposely breaking bones, or hurting oneself physically.
Every year 1 in 5 females while 1 in 7 males are involved in self-injury activities. Also, as high as 90 % of the time, people begin self-harming in their pre-adolescents or teen years.
While these acts of self-harm are often non-suicidal, we still cannot overlook its possibility, which is why people need to be educated on self-harm and addiction.
There are often myths and misconceptions around why people self-harm, and yes, at times, they do it for attention, but it is to bring attention to themselves that they need help often; the use of methods like self-harm and substance abuse is a hidden cry for help.
● Self-harm treatment has often been taken as a method to cope; now, this coping could be from extreme emotions an individual is experiencing due to family problems, bullying, fighting with friends, the demise of a loved one, and so on. This form of physical pain distracts their mind from the internal and emotional distress, even for a moment.
● Like the statistics mentioned above, about 1 in 10 people self-harm, and if this is paired with substance abuse addiction. Self-harm and substance use, when paired together, are not only the most negative method of coping mechanisms but can also be fatal if not effectively treated.
● As the intake or substance abuse increases, the chances of self-harming on the self increase.
● This could be because alcohol or any substance clouds our judgment ability and makes an individual more aggressive, unstable in mood, and often makes poor judgments. These clouds of judgment can often lead to fatal or severe injuries.
● For instance, using a stimulant might increase the chances of self-injuries during and after use because stimulants are responsible for producing hallucinations, paranoia, and delusion, which makes reality unclear. This separation from reality can be a reason for self-harming. This is why self-harm and addiction can be dangerous to an individual's life.
● Self-harm is also utilised to punish oneself for the sins or actions an individual has committed by themselves.
● As mentioned, they can be used to express oneself or the pain they are going through, primarily a cry for help.
Though it is typical for self-harming behaviour to begin during pre-teens or adolescence, we should remember that it is not fixed. Regardless of age or gender, one can self-harm for various reasons.
While this act of harming oneself often goes unnoticed, there are a few signs or red flags you should look out for.
● If you ever see someone wear full-sleeved clothes on a scorching day or wearing covered garments regardless of the weather, it is a sign that you should keep an eye out on them and try to talk to them about any issues they might be facing.
● Frequent anger outbursts can also be an indication, as often, anger leads to an individual carrying out some activities which might cause them harm.
● Frequent inquiries or burns on their body can also indicate an individual who might be engaged in self-harming behaviour.
● Scars on their hands or any body part.
● Frequently use bandages on their hands or any body region to conceal the marks.
These are just a few warning signs you should always look out for. If you discover that someone you know is self-harming, you must help them get the correct self-harm treatments to prevent a mishap.
We did understand a bit why people self-harm, but when we see these marks on the hand of our loved ones, it's not only painful to watch but also challenging to comprehend why they did something like that.
Watching when you find someone you love can be painful and triggering. This makes it essential to see if the loved one hurting themselves has the problem of self-harm and substance use or just self-harming because information and education can be crucial in helping those struggling.
While we understand why people self-harm, we must understand what and how we can help them.
While it is impossible to take away the pain of the person self-harming entirely, we should know that with the right self-harm treatments, a fatal injury can be prevented and can be helped through the difficulties.
● Trying to understand them instead of being aggressive with them or using any harsh words. Try to understand the reason behind why they hurt themselves, the frequency of it, as well as if they are willing to seek help or not.
● Instead of asking them to promise that they won’t repeat the actions, getting them professional help is essential. This is mainly because they might punish themselves out of the guilt of breaking your promise.
● Again, don't judge them or ridicule their actions, as it will give them the impression that you do not care and will continue with their actions.
● Support them and let them know you are there to listen to any problems they might be facing and help them in case they need some. At times their cry for help, if heard, can help them overcome their act of self-harming.
● Accepting their feelings and how they feel currently. Don't diss their feelings or thoughts; listen to them and help them.
● Get professional help, especially if you think they are suicidal.
Now that we have an in-depth understanding of why do people self-harm and how to approach them, it is also essential to understand how treatment would work for them-
● Usually, a mental health professional would perform an MSE or evaluation to understand the reason behind their actions and their extent.
● They would provide therapy to help the client deal with past traumas that might be the reason or causal factors for the same.
● Depending upon case-to-case, medication might be provided for the same and hospitalisation in rare and extreme cases.
We at SimranShri Rehabilitation centre aim to destigmatise addiction and suicide and efficiently help those who need our service. We provide individuals with the best counselling for their betterment and well-being.
With over five years of experience helping people recover from addiction and enabling hundreds of people to live Substance-free, Simran Shri Rehabilitation Center is one of India's best drug rehab centres. We provide various services like-
● Alcohol addiction treatment
● Detoxification services
● Group Therapy
● Dance sessions
● Family therapy
● Nicotine addiction treatment
● Mental health counselling
For more information, check out our website and give someone the help they always need.