Decoding self-injurious behaviors among people with mental problems

Decoding self-injurious behaviors among people with mental problems

Not all episodes of self-injury are intended at committing suicide. Some people tend to intentionally hurt, cut or burn themselves in an attempt to cope with pangs of emotional distress, excessive anger or extreme frustration. Identified as non-suicidal injury, psychologists equate it with symptoms of poor mental health.

Researches have shown how people afflicted with mental conditions like bipolar disorder may suffer from excessive bouts of sadness, anger or frustration, resulting in an increased tendency in them to commit acts akin to self-injury. Those engaged in self-harm may show the following behaviors:

  • Harming surface of one’s own body by cutting/burning
  • Slashing wrists
  • Inserting sharp objects under fingernails or into the skin
  • Hitting oneself against wall or with heavy objects
  • Intentionally causing harm or breaking one’s bones
  • Uncontrollable hair pulling

Experts maintain that most people causing injuries to selves have gone through major traumatic experiences during their childhood or in the initial phases of their lives. As opposed to the common myth of self-injuring behaviors being a manifestation of bipolar disorder, this behavior may be exhibited owing to undeveloped emotional coping strategies or co-occurring mental health problems, including bipolar disorder. The kinds of mental health problems that may manifest themselves as self-injurious behavior in their patients may include eating disorders, depressive disorder, anxiety and compulsive tendency to abuse substances.

What may cause self-injurious behavior?

Physicians treating patients with self-injurious behavior have identified them as indicative of being affected with borderline personality disorder. Such patients are unable to emotionally regulate their reactions to stressful events. Besides, this behavior may also occur in people with primary psychotic disorder that prevent them from realizing the difference between reality and fiction. Other problems leading to self-injuring tendencies may include head traumas or developmental disabilities.

While causing self-injury may instill in a person a temporary feeling of calm coupled with release of tension, it is soon followed by feelings of guilt and shame, along with return of painful feelings. Though the intent and possibility of self-injurious behavior culminating into a serious threat to life are rare, there is a high potential of the same being transformed into serious and lethal hostile act. Non-suicidal self-injury may assume extreme forms in teens and young adults with some of them having reported to be admitted to hospital or medical care facilities.

Research has suggested how only a minor percentage of those affected seek treatment, resulting in haphazard figures regarding the prevalence of such behavior. Though there is no reliable evidence of statistics that indicate the pervasiveness of self-injurious behavior in the U.S., females comprise approximately 60 percent of those engaged in self-harming tendencies. Federal agencies across the nation estimate the number of self-injury cases to be around 2 million each year with most being reported among teenagers and young adults.

Road to recovery

Behaviors indicating self-injurious tendencies are increasingly gaining attention of health care advocates and physicians across the nation. Believed to first occur during adolescence or a phase of early adulthood marred with psychiatric problems, the act of self-injury may also impact social behavior or impede ability to communicate with peers and loved ones.

In case you or a loved one is grappling with a mental problem, such as depression or anxiety disorders, contact Sovereign Health, a leading mental health care provider. Our facilities are reckoned as one of the top self-injury disorder treatment centers in California. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online for more information about our centers providing self-injury disorder treatment in California.

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