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Self-harm is a coping mechanism for some people when they are faced with overwhelming emotions or distress. By inflicting physical harm on themselves, they may find temporary relief from emotional pain. Self-harm is often associated with anxiety, depression, and past trauma. It can serve various functions, such as self-punishment, communication of distress, emotional pain reduction, or to feel alive when feeling emotionally numb.

Forms of self-harm include:

  • Cutting yourself or severely scratching your skin
  • Burning or scalding yourself
  • Poisoning yourself
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Hitting yourself or banging your head
  • Over-exercising
  • Sticking objects into your skin
  • Intentionally preventing wounds from healing
  • Misusing alcohol or illicit drugs
  • Pulling your hair
  • Having unsafe sex

While self-harm might provide temporary relief, it doesn’t resolve the underlying problems and can lead to physical damage, guilt, and shame. Self-harm is also strongly related to suicide, as over half of those who die by suicide have a history of self-harm. If you’re struggling with self-harm, consider speaking to a healthcare professional and seeking counselling to help address the psychological issues contributing to the behavior and develop healthier coping strategies.

Therapies that may help include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral counselling (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior counselling (DBT)
  • Schema counselling
  • Cognitive analytic counselling

The highly specialized team at Hypoworry Online Counselling has expertise in managing and treating self-harm and can provide support and guidance.


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