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Cutting: Knowing and Understanding Self-Harm

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Self-injury (SI), self-harm (SH) or deliberate self-harm (DSH) is deliberate infliction of tissue damage or alteration to oneself without suicidal intent. Although the terms self-injury or self-harm have been used to refer to infliction of harm to the body’s surface, the term self-harm may be used to include the harm inflicted on the body by those with eating disorders.

Some scholars use more technical definitions related to specific aspects of this behaviour. These acts may be aimed at relieving otherwise unbearable emotions, and/or sensations of unreality and numbness.


Self-harm is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as a symptom of borderline personality disorder and depressive disorders.

It is sometimes associated with mental illness, a history of trauma and abuse including emotional abuse, sexual abuse, eating disorders, or mental traits such as low self-esteem or perfectionism, but a statistical analysis is difficult, as many self-injurers conceal their injuries.

The relationship between self-harm and suicide is a complex one, as self-harm behaviour may be potentially life-threatening, with or without suicidal intent. However, attributing self harmers as suicidal is, in the majority of cases, inaccurate.

Non-fatal self-harm is common in young people worldwide and due to this prevalence the term self-harm is increasingly used to denote any non-fatal acts of deliberate self-harm, irrespective of the intention.

There are a number of different treatments available for self-injurers which concentrate on either treating the underlying causes or on treating the behaviour itself. When self-injury is associated with depression, antidepressant drugs and treatments may be effective.

Alternative approaches involve avoidance techniques, which focus on keeping the self-injurer occupied with other activities, or replacing the act of self-harm with safer methods that do not lead to permanent damage.
Source: Wikipedia

Written by Daniel

January 27, 2009 at 7:09 am

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2 Responses

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  1. Self-harm is a touchy subject. It is a big problem among teens. You can check out my article on self-harm at http://www.mikedaynnight.wordpress.com


    January 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm

  2. but why s.i? where does the urge originate? I know about tribal attachments, but as a punishment or as an outlet for emotion? Where does a 13 year old, white girl from New Zealand get these urges, outlets, ideas???


    October 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm

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