Self-harm occurs when someone intentionally damage themselves to cope with painful or powerful emotions. It’s a means of attempting to get control over or relieve from negative emotions.
Self-harm is a strategy for some people to try to heal themselves by attempting to control or halt their feelings. Others self-harm in order to ‘feel something,’ rather than nothingness or emptiness. Self-harm is used by some people to express pessimism, seek treatment, influence other people’s behaviour, or ‘get back at’ others.
Self-harm is usually a symptom that someone is in a lot of pain.
How does self-harm occur?
Self-harm may take many forms, some of which are more evident and dangerous than others. Self-harm can take several forms, including:
- The body is sliced, scratched, carved, branded, or marked in some way.
- Picking at scabs to prevent them from healing
- Hair pulling.
- Grazing or burning yourself
- Biting, bruising, or striking oneself.
- striking a hard object with a portion of your body.
When kids establish other online identities for themselves on social networking platforms and make vicious remarks about themselves, this is known as digital self-harm or self-cyberbullying. Other people may make derogatory remarks about the alternate identities.
Some teens and young people deal with overwhelming emotions in subtle but significant ways. Binge drinking, using a lot of drugs, having hazardous sex, and starvation are examples of these behaviours.
Self-harm warning signs
Self-harming teenagers sometimes try to conceal their behaviour. They are frequently ashamed of their actions and fear that others will be angry with them, reject them, or fail to understand why they self-harm.
Here are some warning signs to look for if you’re worried your child is self-harming.
Signs of Self harm behaviour
It’s possible that your child:
- significant alterations in their sleeping or eating habits
- They may lose interest in activities they formerly enjoyed or cease to visit pals.
- Avoid activities where their legs, arms, or torso can be seen, such as swimming, and dress in clothing that covers their arms and legs.
- School absenteeism or a reduction in academic achievement are also possible outcomes.h
- Hide Razor blades, stencil knives, lighters, and matches.
It’s possible that your child:
- Mood swings are common.
- be annoyed on a regular basis.
- having frequent rage outbursts.
- feel depressed, emptied, or despairing.
- a sense of worthlessness or a strong sense of remorse.
- Stop care about how they look.
What to do if your child is self-harming:
You may feel scared, guilty, startled, terrified, or even angry if you discover your child is self-harming.
It can be difficult to comprehend what’s going on and why – and your child may not be able to express themselves. However, by being calm, courteous, not judging, and actively listening, you may get insight into your child’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, as well as suggestions for how you may assist them.
The most essential thing is to teach your child that strong emotions are natural, but they may sometimes be difficult to deal with. Things might feel much more difficult when you’re in your teens.
If you notice your child self-harming, don’t panic.
It’s better to speak gently, clearly, and without judgement if you see your child self-harming. You may remark something along the lines of, ‘I see you’re unhappy.’ I hadn’t realised how much had accumulated. You are welcome to speak with me about this. I’m not going to be mad at you.’
It’s advisable to refrain from retaliating with rage or threats. It won’t help if you say your youngster is only doing it for the attention. The majority of self-harm isn’t done to attract attention.
During self-harm, it’s normal for people to get ‘zoned out’ or unresponsive. If you come across your child in this state, gently and quietly pronounce their name and ask them to tell you where they are. Inquire with your youngster about getting assistance.
In a calm and unobtrusive manner, administer first aid to any wounds or injuries. If something appears to be serious, get medical help. This might teach your youngster that their body is valuable and deserves to be cared for.
“I’d want to assist you cure those cuts,” you can remark, or “Let’s grab some antiseptic to help those cuts heal quickly.”
When it comes to self-harm,
You can ask your kid questions regarding self-harm, but keep in mind that people who self-harm may be ashamed of themselves. That is why it is critical to remain cool, refrain from passing judgement, and listen quietly without interrupting.
Consider the following scenario:
‘I saw the scars on your arm,’ says the narrator. I hope it’s all right for me to say that. ‘Could you tell me about the times you got hurt?’
‘I can see you’re in a lot of pain.’ You could feel frightened. I’m terrified as well. We can figure it out together.’
‘I can tell you’re angry because you’re self-harming.’ You might not appreciate the fact that I’ve discovered something. I’m not going to bombard you with questions, but I’d want to assist you when you’re ready.’
Obtaining assistance for self-harming youngsters.
Your kid may be able to stop self-harming on their own, but professional help from a doctor, counsellor, or psychiatrist is critical.
Depending on your child’s needs, a health expert may offer various therapy. Psychological therapy or counselling, as well as parent or family therapy, may be used in treatment.
Counseling can assist kids in understanding why they are self-harming, what causes it, and how to stop. It might involve assisting teens in better understanding and regulating intense emotions, as well as learning more efficient strategies to regulate and express powerful ideas and feelings.
Dr. Rameez Shaikh (MBBS, MD, MIPS) is a consultant Psychiatrist & Psychotherapist in Nagpur and works at Mind & Mood Clinic. He believes that faith-based treatment, encompassing spiritual, physical, and mental health, will provide you with the long-lasting knowledge and tool to find happiness and wholeness again. In his spare time, he’s an aspiring singer and writer.