g Text Version
Beauty & Self
Books & Music
Food & Wine
Health & Fitness
Hobbies & Crafts
Home & Garden
News & Politics
Religion & Spirituality
Travel & Culture
TV & Movies

Bored? Games!
Take a Quiz
Rate My Photo

Natural Living
Folklore and Mythology
Distance Learning

All times in EST

Low Carb: 8:00 PM

Full Schedule
g Adolescence Site

BellaOnline's Adolescence Editor


What is Self-injurious Behavior?

Guest Author - Stephanie K. Ferguson

Self-injurious behavior is defined as an act that intentionally inflicts harm on the body without the intent to commit suicide. The most common forms of self-injury are cutting or scratching with needles, knives, glass, razor blades, any sharpened object…even fingernails; branding or burning with hot objects (e.g., cigarettes, curling irons, stove burners) or using friction (e.g., rubbing on the skin with a pencil eraser of extended periods of time); picking at the skin or reopening old wounds that are beginning to heal; swallowing toxic substances or sharp objects; biting; or punching or hitting (e.g., repeatedly punching a wall or banging one’s head against a wall). This is not an exhaustive list, however. Self-injurers find unique ways to hurt themselves.

What all of these behaviors have in common for the self-injurer is that instead of feeling pain at the completion of these acts, self-injurers instead feel a temporary sense of relief. Self-injury is a coping mechanism for those who do it. It enables the self-injurer to deal with intense emotional distress. The motivation behind self-injury can be difficult to grasp. Reasons for the behavior include, but are not limited to: a way to regulate strong emotions; a way to distract from emotional pain; a way of expressing emotions that cannot be verbalized; a way to exact control over one’s body; a way to self-punish or a form of self-hate by those who have had a history of physical, sexual or emotional abuse; and/or a way to self-soothe for those who cannot calm their own intense emotions.

Self-injury is indiscriminant; it affects people from all strata of society. In the United States it is estimated that about 2 million people, approximately 1% of the population, are self-injurers. These people possess some common traits: the expression of anger and emotions was discouraged during their childhood and adolescence and/or co-existing conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance abuse, or eating disorders are present and/or the lack of appropriate coping mechanisms for dealing with strong emotions and/or the lack of a social support network.

Often self-injury is a secretive behavior. Outward indications that the behavior is taking place may include: obvious cuts, scratches, or burns that do not appear to be accidental and for which no logical explanation is given; in increase in ‘accidents’ that cause injuries of the type described above; frequently bandaged arms and/or wrists (bandages may not be typical, such as bandanas or sleeved gloves); reluctance to take part in activities that require exposed legs, arms or torsos; and wearing long sleeves and long pants even in hot weather.

Treatment for self-injurious behavior varies. One effective treatment is family therapy. Improving communication within the family unit along with teaching conflict-resolution skills often help strengthen relationships between parents and adolescents. Cognitive therapy which helps self-injurers develop more socially appropriate coping mechanisms with which they can diffuse strong emotions may help to de-habituate self-injurious behaviors.
This site needs an editor - click to learn more!

Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Twitter Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Facebook Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to MySpace Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Digg What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Yahoo My Web Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Google Bookmarks Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Stumbleupon Add What+is+Self%2Dinjurious+Behavior%3F to Reddit

RSS | Related Articles | Editor's Picks Articles | Top Ten Articles | Previous Features | Site Map

For FREE email updates, subscribe to the Adolescence Newsletter

Past Issues

Printer Friendly
tell friend
Tell a Friend
Email Editor

Content copyright © 2018 by Stephanie K. Ferguson. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Stephanie K. Ferguson. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.


g features
Study Habits For Teenagers

The Importance Of Telling Our Children No

Taking Care of You -The Parent

Archives | Site Map


Past Issues

Note: BellaOnline uses cookies to help provide a consistent user experience. Our advertisers may use cookies to help customize ads. Please contact us with any question about our cookie use.

Summertime Foods
Corn on the Cob
Burgers on the Grill
Apple Pie


| About BellaOnline | Privacy Policy | Advertising | Become an Editor |
Website copyright © 2018 Minerva WebWorks LLC. All rights reserved.

BellaOnline Editor