Why do people self harm, and what effect does it have on them? Elaina Samelo
Booker T. Washington
Mrs. Looney, 3rd Block
Many people think that the thing called “self harm” or “self injury” is scary and should be considered a problem, but they do not know the whole of it. They have only seen self injury from the outside looking in, but have never experienced it themselves. This is what makes self harm seem like something to be scorned, and something to be feared. It appears to be evident only in teenage girls who want attention, but it is so much more. Self harm can be a means of expression, or a silent call for help; a coping method, and an escape. People who intentionally hurt themselves are not people to be ignored and ridiculed; they are people who just need help. The action affects the person, their loved ones, their mental health, and their personal relationships. With the help of Dr. Tara Deliberto, Dr. Helen Bergen, and many other specialists, people can better understand what self injury is and what can be done about it. So many people have things to say on this topic, but the question still remains: Why do people self injure, and what effect does it have on them?
Why do people self harm, and what effect does it have on them? The first step to finding these answers is to know what self harm really is. There are many articles and discussions about self injury, because it is so common. People do not realize the number of teenagers and even adults that are affected by SIV. SIV—or Self-Inflicted Violence—is when a person intentionally inflicts physical pain on themselves. This could happen in various ways. The most common methods are cutting and burning, but there are many other ways, too. Picking scabs to prevent the healing process and even bruising oneself is also considered self injury, but the list doesn’t end there. Hair-pulling, excessive tattooing and piercing can also be considered forms of SIV. Though having knowledge of the methods of self injury is important, half of the process of understanding this illness is making the effort to understand the person behind the actions. The majority of the people who are affected by SIV are usually intelligent people who are perfectly capable of leading normal lives, and just have very poor self-image. The victims of SIV are not limited to one age group, or one gender. The group that is most prone to self injure are women between the ages of thirteen and sixty, but they are not the only people suffering from SIV. Boys and men can go through the same thing, and have the same feelings; this is just less common. A lot of the time, eating disorders go hand in hand with self injury. Cyntianna Ledesma (2009) states, “People who SIV are also linked with other illnesses such as Anorexia, Bulimia, Borderline Personality Disorders, Manic Depression, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders.” Ledesma, although mostly correct, does not specify that this does not always have to be true. These other disorders can be associated with SIV, but are not necessarily paired with SIV in every person. To elaborate on these disorders; anorexic people starve themselves to the point of malnutrition which causes them to be unhealthily thin. Bulimia is also an eating disorder in which a person gorges themselves, then purposely vomits the food back up. This is also usually due to insecurity in weight. “A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder that causes a person to think, feel, and act differently than what is considered normal.”(Blahd, 2011) The condition called manic depression, or Bipolar disorder, is when a person experiences severe mood swings. Blahd (2011) also stated that Bipolar disorder “is a serious condition, when mania causes sleeplessness, sometimes for days, along with hallucinations, psychosis, grandiose delusions, and/or paranoid rage.” Lastly, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, or OCD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent and persistent thoughts...
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