Self-injury is a behavior in which the person injures himself, whether through cuts, burns or beating. The first autolytic behaviors usually appear in adolescence, with young adults exhibiting them as well.
Below we will take a look at what they are, in addition to seeing the types of self-harm that exist, What personality traits do the people who practice them exhibit and what disorders and traumatic events can influence their appearance.
What Are Self Injuries?
Self-harm is any behavior, intentional and self-directed, involving some type of damage, the immediate destruction of body tissue and the formation of sores.
It can manifest itself in the form of different types of injuries, such as cuts, marks on the skin, burns, mutilations or beatings, associated with a wide variety of psychological problems and mental disorders. Such behaviors do not include excessive drug ingestion or poisoning with autolytic intent.
Self-harm is not intended to be attempted suicide, although that does not mean that the person who committed it did not consider suicide on other occasions. These are harmful and inappropriate ways of dealing with emotional pain, anger, and frustration. It’s a way to feel in control, hurt and feel momentary calm and release tension. However, after self-harm, guilt and shame come, returning painful emotions.
Types of self-injury
Self-injury can be classified into two main types. The first concerns the action itself, that is, the type of injury it causes. The second has more to do with the severity and frequency of autolytic behavior itself.
According to the type of wound
From the types of self-harm depending on the injury they cause, we have the following types.
Cuts can be made with any type of sharp object, such as knives, knives, threads, needles, razor blades or even nails. This involves making deep or scratched cuts on various parts of the body, such as the arms, legs and the front of the torso, which are the places where self-harm is most often committed because they are easily covered up. with long-sleeved clothes.
Cutting can become a habit, in the form of compulsive behavior. The more the person has been cut, the more they will need to do it when a stressful stimulus or a situation that causes you anxiety arises.
The brain begins to connect the false sense of calm as a good strategy for dealing with negative emotions.
2.scatches and burns
The person may scratch compulsively until blood comes out, Or rub objects such as cloth, tape, or other materials to produce a friction burn. It can also be done by burning with fire, using matches, lighted cigarettes or hot knives, or throwing hot.
3. Engrave words or pierce the skin
The engraving of words or symbols on the skin is done with knives or sharp objects and, as with the cuts, they are usually made in parts that are easy to hide, such as the arms and legs.
This category could include many piercings and tattoos as it could indicate that you are in a lot of emotional pain and want to endure the pain caused by the tattoo needle.
4. Punching, punching or punching yourself in the head
They can be punched in the chest, stomach, behind the head, or even by hitting a wall or door.
Trichotillomania is an impulse to pluck the hair, both scalp and eyebrows, mustache, Beard, nose or other parts of the body. It can go from a habit to an addiction, being a behavior present in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Pulling out your hair involves the formation of bald spots, as it does not give you time to grow hair or even accelerate alopecia. This causes people who have this behavior to wear hats, caps or wigs.
Dermatilomania is the self-injurious behavior of reopening wounds, tearing off new scab or skin, Lift up the dots or bands.
Depending on the severity of the wound
Depending on the severity and concealment of self-injurious behaviors, we have the following types of injuries.
1. Stereotypical self-injurious behaviors
Acts that occur anywhere and range from minor to serious injuries.
2. Main self-injurious behaviors
They involve a kind of amputation. They are associated with severe and psychotic psychopathology.
3. Compulsive self-harm behaviors
Repetitive ritualistic behaviors that occur several times a day, such as biting your nails (oncophagia), pulling your hair and eating it (trichotillomania), or hitting the back of the head.
4. Impulsive self-harm behaviors
There is the worry of getting hurt. It’s a hard drive to resist, which it produces anxiety, with a subsequent sense of relief and no suicide attempt.
What are the characteristics of people who get injured?
There are a number of common personality traits in people who self-injure, but it should also be borne in mind that having experienced a traumatic situation and having been through a stressful situation are factors that influence the appearance of these behaviors.
It is not uncommon to observe that people who adopt this type of behavior clearly have emotional skills deficits. In other words, they have problems with awareness and expression of their emotions, and do not know how to deal with them or why they feel this way, they resort to autolytic behaviors.
A rather striking characteristic is self-criticism, insecurity and perfectionism. These are people who tend to be very strict with themselves, who show their dissatisfaction with the way they are doing or what they haven’t achieved with outbursts of anger and self-directed aversion. . Self-harm is a kind of self-punishment, and it’s not hard to see that there is a clear underlying problem. low self-esteem and negative emotionality.
Why are they getting hurt?
Cuts, burns, or assaults in any way is to control emotional pain, but ineffective. The person can go through a very stressful situation and doesn’t know how to deal with it adaptively, mainly because they don’t know how to identify the source of what is hurting them psychologically.
When you hurt yourself, when you hurt yourself, the pain becomes something specific and localized, you know where it is. He turns something psychic into physical, directing his attention to the recent injury that it has on the skin, on the purple that has been caused or on the burn that has occurred.
Psychological problems and disorders
Self-harm shouldn’t last a lifetime. Sometimes they arise at times when the person is going through a tense situation. However, there are mental disorders in which this type of behavior is a symptom. They also appear even when the person is the victim of an assault, As in bullying at school or domestic violence.
- The main psychiatric disorders in which they can appear are:
Borderline personality disorder
- Major depression.
- Anxiety disorders, such as PTSD
- Eating disorders.
- Alcohol abuse
- substance addiction
In addition to being victim of:
- Sexual and physical violence.
- Harassment and cyberbullying.
- Dysfunctional family.
- Muehlenkamp, JJ and Kerr, PL (2010). Unraveling a complex web: in which self-harm and non-suicidal suicide attempts are differentiated. The Prevention Researcher, 17 (1), 8+.
- Washburn, JJ, Richardt, SL, Styer, DM et al (2012) Psychotherapeutic approaches to non-suicidal self-harm in adolescents. Adolescent Child Psychiatry Mental Health 6, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1753-2000-6-14