Self-injury is the act of deliberately harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It's not meant as a suicide attempt. Rather, self-injury is an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration.
What you should know:
- While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions. And with self-injury comes the possibility of inflicting serious and even fatal injuries.
- Because self-injury is often done on impulse, it may be considered an impulse-control behavior problem.
- Self-injury may accompany a variety of mental illnesses, such as depression, eating disorders and borderline personality disorder
What you should do about it:
- Therapy can also help you learn skills to better tolerate stress, regulate your emotions, boost your self-image, better your relationships and improve your problem-solving skills.
- There are no medications that specifically treat self-injury. However, your doctor may recommend treatment with antidepressants or other psychiatric medications that can help improve depression, anxiety or other mental disorders commonly associated with self-injury. An improvement in these symptoms may help you feel less compelled to hurt yourself.
- If you injure yourself severely or repeatedly, your doctor may recommend admission for psychiatric hospitalization. Hospitalization can provide a safe environment and more intensive treatment until you get through a crisis. Day treatment programs also may be an option.