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What is self-harming? Self-harming is anything you do to hurt yourself. Self-harming can be done by cutting yourself, by burning yourself, or by hitting yourself. Self-harming can be a way of coping with problems. Those who self-harm tend to experience difficulty expressing the emotions surrounding conflict. Many self-harmers report that cutting provides a relief. It helps to express the feelings one can’t voice. It is a way to release emotional pain and a distraction from overwhelming emotions. Cutters report that cutting makes you feel alive, or simply feel something instead of feeling numb.

Self-harming is more common than many people know. More recent studies suggest that as many as one in five girls between 10 and 18 years of age are now cutting themselves with razor blades or burning themselves with matches. More often it is girls who are harming themselves and not boys.

Here are examples of how many girls self-harm.

  • Cutting or severely scratching your skin
  • Burning or scalding yourself
  • Hitting yourself or banging your head
  • Punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects in your skin.
  • Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
  • Swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate objects

    Most girls/young women who self-harm are not suicidal and they don’t want anyone to discover their harming behaviors.

    Signs of self-harming to look for:

  • Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises or burns, usually on the wrist, arms, Thighs or chest.
  • Blood stains on clothing, towels or bedding; blood soaked tissues
  • Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps in a person’s belongings.
  • Frequent “accidents”, someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps.
  • Covering up; a person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather.
  • Needing to be alone for long period of time, especially in bedroom or bathroom
  • Isolation and irritability.

Self-harmers usually do not want to die. They are trying to cope with their pain. However, self-harming can become addictive, and in the long-term people who self-harm have a much higher risk of suicide. This is why it is so important to seek help for the self-harming person as soon as possible.  


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