Self Harm Research Report

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Research Criteria

1. Define Topic:
Self-harming is deliberate injury inflicted by a person upon their own body. However this action is without the intent to commit suicide. So in simpler words it is deliberate but non-suicidal injury of one’s body.

Behaviour that is usually considered as Self-Harm which are often seen and treated in Emergency wards can include: - Cutting
- Burning
- Hitting
- Biting
- Scratching
- Self-poisoning
- Overdosing on prescription and non-prescription medicines

There are also “socially accepted”, more unconscious, forms of Self-Harm. These can include: - Excessive alcohol and drug use
- Tattooing
- Ear and body piercing
- Getting into pub brawls
- Going from one abusive, violent relationship to another

Ways of being able to tell if a person is self-harming are:
- Unexplained cuts and bruises on the body.
- Wearing long sleeves and pants, even in warm weather.
- Secrecy, such as keeping a specific drawer locked or hiding specific items. - A breakdown in typical communication.
- Mood changes or mood swings.
- Changes in eating patterns.
- Changes in sleeping patterns.
- Changes in socialising patterns.
- Evidence of drug or medical paraphernalia.
- Evidence of carrying unnecessary sharp objects, matches or lighters. - Poor performance or results at school or work.
- Loss of interest in favourite hobbies or sports.

Some Common Reasons Why People Self-harm:
They find it soothing:
- To feel pain on the outside instead of the inside
- To cope with feelings
- To express anger towards themselves
- To feel alive and real

A way of communicating what they can't say with words:
- To tell people they need help
- To get people's attention
- To tell people they should be in hospital
An attempt to get people to react to their actions:
- To get people to care for them
- To make other people feel guilty
- To drive people away
- To get away from stress and responsibility
- To manipulate situations or people
2. Providing Current Statistics:
From research worldwide however, it appears that self-harm is more common among women than men, and is more common in the age groups from teenager (15yrs) to middle ages (45 years). In the age group above 75 years however, self-harm is more common in men. In Australia, statistics show that poisoning is the most common method for hospitalized self-harm, followed by cutting or piercing. (Steepkamp and Harrison 2000)

Approximately 4% of the population Self-Harms and is one of the top 5 causes of acute medical admission for women and men. (From the brochure Surviving Self-Harm, your rights, your options. By Griffith University) In Australia during 1997/1998 about 25,000 of all ages were admitted to hospitals because of Self-Harm. (Steenkamp, & Harrison, (2000)) This figure does not count those who were seen in emergency departments or by medical practitioners.

3. Physical and Psychological effects/impacts of Self- Harm: Physical Effects/Impacts:
Visible body illness, for example, extreme weight loss or weight gain. Getting sick due to being unhealthy and not looking after yourself. The effects that drugs have on the body and the mind, for example, lack of energy and motivation to do anything. Also the actual scars of what the person has done to themselves, for example, cuts or burns on the body that rarely go away. These scars will be on a person possibly for the rest of their lives. Even though a person may not self harm anymore, the scars will always be there to remind them of their past. This may cause psychological issues.

Psychological Effects/Impacts:
The psychological damage from both the Self-Harm and the shame and guilt that follow can be as devastating as the problems and stresses that lead to the Self-Harming behaviour in the first place.

Self-Harm can have an effect on others as well. Friends and relatives feel inadequate at knowing how to help those they care about. In many cases the whole idea...
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