INTRODUCTION: Since the beginning of time human beings have been self-destroyers. However it is much more common for somebody who has grown up around sexual abuse, young women –in general– to develop self-destructive habbits in later life.
THEORIES: There are countless theories to why people act out self-harm. Some point to parents who abuse their children, and make the child feel as if he/her’s in the position where they have no control and as they grow up they develop a strong desire for some sort of pain–particularly cutting with sharp objects–. They feel in control, and inflicting pain on themselves is something they can stop and start. It satisfies their psychological desire for pain and at the same time gives them a brief moment of relief. Some believe cutting is a manifestation of a need to become physically unattractive and a way to avoid sexual predators, because they feel if they’re unattractive they will recieve less attention. However this theory is contradicted by the fact that self-mutilation can be acted out for a need of attention. The main point here is that people are always going to have different reasons for their addiction and desire to harm themselves.
Self injury has many different “slang” names. A couple of them are: ‘self mutilation’ ‘self harm’ ‘cutting’ etc.. But all in all it’s simply just deliberate harm caused to the body without the intentions of committing suicide, better yet according to most sources, it can often be mistaken as failed suicide. Self harmers most probably have been diagnosed with: multiple personality disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.
DEFINITION: There are several defintions of Self-Mutilation. Researchers and mental health professionals haven’t agreed on a specific term to indentify this behaviour. When somebody uses Self mutilation, self injury or self harm, they’re used interchangeably.
In 1993 self injury was classified into three categories by psychiatrists Favazza & AR Rosenthal:
1) Major self-mutilation – Refers to great amount of harm caused by oneself to severely damage a significant amount of tissue or flesh.
2) Stereotypic self-mutilation – Repeatedly causing harm to one self with a rhythm. Most commonly known as head banging. Stereotypic self-mutilation is common amoung the mentally challenged.
3) Superficial or moderate self-mutilation – Superficial/moderate self-mutilation is seen in individuals diagnosed with personality disorders.
MISCONCEPTIONS OF SELF-INJURY: Suicide – the most common misconception of self-injury. Stanley et al, reported that approximately 55%-85% self-harmers of 2001 had made atleast one attempt at suicide. However research proves that the desire for pain relief and the goal of self-mutilating and suicide do not fit in the same catergory.
Other misconceptions: attention seeking behaviour (can be argued with), danger to others and an act of guilt.
COMMON WAYS TO SELF-INJURE: Cutting, scratching, burning tounge with cigarette, banging head, punching repeatedly and pulling hair.
CONCLUSION: Self-harmers are common in todays society. However self-mutilation has been a part of the depression world for generations, and there’s always going to be people who portray the role as a self-harmer.