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Self-Injury Information

Self injury, or self harm, is an addiction just like any other addiction.Unfortunately, unlike the signs of alcoholism or drug addiction, self harm may not be readily apparent to the friends and family of the addict.Furthermore, the problem is not as widely recognized- many treatment programs center around alcohol rehabilitation or drug treatment. Programs for those addicting to self harm is less widespread, and therefore harder to find.Thus, understanding self harm is essential if you know someone who might be at risk.

The first step in any sort of rehab, whether it is alcohol rehab, drug rehab, or rehabilitation for self injury, is recognizing that there is a problem.This, too, is more difficult in the case of self harm because the addict and their peers may not even be aware that what they are doing is self harm.Self injury is defined as the deliberate infliction of harm upon oneself, which leaves a permanent mark, and which is done to relieve or cope with stress. The following sites provide detailed definitions of self injury:

Just as there are many different types of alcohol and drug addictions (for example, cocaine addiction treatment can be different than heroin addiction treatment) there are different types of self injurers.Self harm can take the form of cutting, needle sticks, burns, hair pulling, or any number of other different methods. The sites below provide additional information on types of self injury:

While not as common as alcoholism or drug addiction, self injury is relatively prevalent. Approximately 1% of the population has engaged in self injury at some point in their lives. Incidents of self harm are more common among certain groups, including women and adolescents; for example, approximately 17% of college students report harming themselves in some manner.

Once you know what self injury is, the next important step is recognizing this debilitating illness if it is afflicting someone close to you.While those in need of rehabilitation often show outward signs- being drunk or under the influence of narcotics- it is relatively easy to hide self injury. However there are some signs and symptoms to help you recognize when someone close to you is hurting themselves.Of course, you can look for the specific marks and physical symptoms- frequent cuts or burns, or scratches.Additional signs include always wearing pants or long sleeves even in warm weather to cover up marks. Also having low self-esteem or difficulty handling feelings or problems, and poor functioning at work or at school have been discovered as sings of a possible self injurer. For a complete list of symptoms and warning signs, visit the following sites:

  • Symptoms of Self Injury
  • Signs and Symptoms of Self Injury
  • Warning Signs of Self Injury

It is very important to be aware of these signs, because the consequences of self injury can be quite serious. First aid may be required immediately upon inflicting injury on oneself or discovering someone who has harmed themselves.This website gives you some tips on first aid for self harm:

  • First Aid for Self Injury

The consequences of self injury go beyond the physical aspect. People who self injure can also turn into drug addicts, alcoholics or suicide risks. The following websites deal with the consequences of self injury:

  • Self Harm and Suicide

Help for those who self-harm is less widely known, but it is available.The following links explain how to get help and how to provide help to a friend in need:

Further Reading