Self-mutilation

Self-mutilation or self-injury is any form of self-harm inflicted on your body without the intent to commit suicide.

  • Causes

    Self-mutilation may be caused by associated psychological problems. Self-mutilation may be done to release emotional pain, anger, or
    anxiety. It may also be done to rebel against authority, flirt with risk-taking, or feel in control. In some cases, the behavior is outside your emotional control, and related to a neurological or metabolic disorder.

    Brain—Psychological Organ
    Brain
    Self-mutilation is often associated with psychiatric disorders that may be caused by chemical imbalances in the brain.
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  • Definition


    Self-mutilation or self-injury is any form of self-harm inflicted on your body without the intent to commit suicide.

  • Diagnosis

    Self-mutilation can be difficult to diagnose. People who self-mutilate often feel guilty and ashamed about their behavior. They may try to hide it. Physical harm caused by self-mutilation may be the first sign noticed during an exam. To be diagnosed, symptoms should meet the following criteria:

    • Excess thinking about physically harming oneself
    • Inability to resist harming oneself, resulting in tissue damage
    • Increased tension before and a sense of relief after self-injury
    • Having no suicidal intent in the self-mutilation

    To make an accurate diagnosis, the psychologist or psychiatrist will assess other conditions, such as personality or mood disorders, and whether there is suicidal intent. A psychosocial assessment may also be given to assess a person’s mental capacity, level of distress, and presence of mental illness.

  • Prevention

    The best prevention is to get help as soon as possible for depression, trauma, emotional problems, or other disorders that may lead to self-mutilation.

  • Risk Factors

    Self-mutilation is more common in females and adolescents. Other factors that may increase your chance of self-mutilation include:

    • Childhood sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
    • Violence or other abusive relationships in a child's home
    • Being in prison
    • Intellectual disability
    • Psychiatric disorders, such as:
      • Psychosis
      • Borderline personality disorder
      • Depression
      • Antisocial personality disorders
      • Post-traumatic stress disorder
    • Certain metabolic disorders

    • Substance abuse, such as
      alcoholism
      or
      drug abuse

    • Eating disorders, such as
      anorexia
      or
      bulimia

    It can also be associated with neurologic or metabolic disorders such as:

    • Tourette syndrome
    • Autism
    • Lesch-Nyhan syndrome

  • Symptoms

    The symptoms of self-mutilation vary. The most common symptoms include:

    • Cutting of skin with a sharp object
    • Skin carving or burning
    • Self-punching or scratching
    • Needle sticking
    • Head banging
    • Eye pressing
    • Finger, lips, or arm biting
    • Pulling out one's hair
    • Picking at one's skin
    • Wearing long sleeves or pants, even in hot weather
    • Claiming to have frequent accidents
    • Relationship difficulties
    • Behavioral and emotional difficulties

    Rarely, in very severe cases, self-mutilation can include:

    • Broken bones
    • Amputation
    • Castration
    • Eye damage
    • Suicide

  • Treatment

    Treatment usually includes medical and psychological treatment, as well as medications.