Borderline Personality Disorder and Self-injury Issues

Topics: Borderline personality disorder, Psychiatry, Health care Pages: 7 (2371 words) Published: April 14, 2009

Self-injury is a behavior in which people deliberately harm their own bodies in some way to cope with overwhelming emotions. Self-injury frequently is an impulsive act. You may become upset and spontaneously seek a way to hurt yourself, recklessly doing damage to their body. Other times, self-injury may be inflicted in a controlled, methodical manner. You may even plan it in advance, taking steps to avoid detection and to prevent infections. This act of behavior is not an attempt at suicide. With self-injury, the intent isn’t to die, but to inflict bodily harm. However, self-injury can accidentally result in suicide.

Self-injury is most commonly associated with cutting disease. This involves making cuts or scratches on your body, enough to break the skin and make you bleed. Cutting can be done with any sharp object, including knives, needles, razor blades or even fingernails. Most frequently, the arms, legs and front torso of the body are the targets of self-injury. These areas can be easily reached and easily hidden by clothing. This doesn’t mean that other areas of the body are subjected. Some people don’t feel the pain when they are cutting, even when creating deep cuts. Others do find self-injury painful but welcome the pain as a punishment or as a distraction from emotional turmoil. Other types of self-injury include burning, poisoning, overdosing, breaking bones, carving in the skin, hitting or punching, piercing the skin with sharp objects, head banging, pulling out hair, pinching and biting. The most common are the cutting and the burning.

Signs of this disease are hard to detect because people who injure themselves often try to keep their behavior secret. Most people who self-injure do not do it for attention, which is what most people who don’t cut think. Most people hide their marks because of shame (Cutting). Although the signs are hard to detect they include scars from cuts and burns, scratches or other wounds, bruises, broken bones, keeping sharp objects on hand, spending a great deal of time alone, wearing long sleeves or long pants in hot weather and claiming to have frequent accidents or mishaps.

There is no one single cause for self-injury. The mix of emotions that drives some people to hurt themselves is complex. People who engage in self-injury, whether it is adolescents or adults, are often in deep psychological pain but lack healthy ways to cope, so they turn to self-injury to gain relief. Cutting is a way some people try to cope with the pain of strong emotions, intense pressure, or upsetting relationship problems (Cutting). Physical injury distracts them from painful emotions or helps them feel a sense of control over and otherwise incontrollable situation. For those who have feelings of emptiness or little emotion, self-injury is a way to feel something, anything, even if it’s physical pain. It also offers an external way to express internal distress and despair. Self-injury is sometimes associated with certain medical conditions, such as personality disorders, depression, eating disorders, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorders. In addition, self-injury may occur in people who have developmental disabilities, such as autism and mental retardation.

There are many sources of their emotional pain and feelings. These feelings could include abandoned, afraid, threatened, alone or isolated, misunderstood, judged, unaccepted, rejected, controlled, powerless, not trusted, unsafe, trapped, punished and guilty (Cutting-Self-Injury). Emotional pain comes when someone has extreme levels of unmet emotional needs. Many alternative ways to cope with emotions could be going for a drive, going shopping, calling a friend, or going for a walk. The problem with these alternative solutions is that they can’t always help teens. Many teens can’t go for a drive because they don’t have a license or their own car. They may not be able to go shopping...

Cited: “Cutting.” 26 March 2008. Reviewed by D’Arcy Lyness, PhD in
September 2007. http://www.kidshealth.ord/teen/your_mind/mental_health/cutting.html
“Cutting-Self-Injury, from the teen’s perspective.” 26 March 2008.
“Teen Depression-Cutting Your Body.” Christina Sponias. 28 March 2008.
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