People define self-harm in lots of different ways. Usually self-harm is defined as someone deliberately hurting themselves without wanting to die. It is sometimes called deliberate self-injury or non-suicidal self-injury. Engaging in self-harm may not mean that someone wants to die. It is a behaviour that is used to cope with difficult or painful feelings.
Everyone experiences stress, anxiety, and low moods at times. But stress and emotional shifts can feel different for different people, particularly for teens navigating the murky waters of adolescence. Some teens turn to self-harm to cope with these complicated emotions. From to , emergency rooms in America saw a sharp rise in treatment of girls and young women between the ages of 10 and 24 who intentionally injured themselves. JAMA reports that within that hike of 8. Self-harm or cutting means hurting yourself on purpose. Cutting into the skin is the most widely known form of self-harm, but burning the skin, picking at wounds to prevent healing, picking at skin, biting or scratching at the skin, ingesting poison or pills without intent to die by suicide, and pulling out hair are all methods of self-harm.
It can be hard to imagine why anyone would want to cut themselves or hurt themselves on purpose. And for parents who discover their teen is engaging in self-injury, it can be confusing, terrifying, and downright frustrating. Self-harm can be fairly common among teens. Studies consistently estimate that 15 to 20 percent of teens harm themselves at one time or another. Fortunately, with support most teens learn healthier coping skills and stop self-injury.
Cutting is when a person deliberately hurts themselves by scratching or cutting their body with a sharp object. The reasons someone might do this are complicated. People who cut themselves might be trying to cope with frustration, anger, or emotional turmoil. It might be an attempt to relieve pressure.