Types and Causes of Self Injury Essay

716 Words 3 Pages
1. Introduction
Self-injury is a term which describes a variety of behaviours in which there are two critical elements: the damage is acute and the damage is intentional. Self injury is generally an unhealthy effort to cope with overwhelming emotions, such as intense anger, rage, terror or shame. There is often a distinction made by psychiatrists between attempted suicide and self-injury as these acts are most often done without suicidal intent. The damage caused is generally severe enough to leave a bruise, scar or other mark, or cause health issues.
2. Types of self injury
Self injury includes, but is not limited to, cutting, burning, branding, overdosing, bone breaking, interfering with wound healing, scratching, biting, hair pulling (Trichotillomania) and puncturing the skin. It may also include eating disorders, excessive drinking and drug use, although these are disputed by some physicians.
3. Risk factors
3.1 Childhood risk factors
 Sexual abuse
 Neglect
 Emotional abuse
 Physical abuse
 Loss or separation
 Parental mental health issues
 Parental substance abuse
3.2 Adult risk factors
 Rape or sexual abuse
 Psychiatric diagnoses
 Substance misuse
 Absence of emotional support
 Intense and distressing emotions
3.3 Co-existing medical conditions
 Anxiety Disorders (e.g. Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder)
 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
 Bipolar Disorder
 Autism Spectrum Disorder
 Eating Disorder (e.g. Anorexia Nervosa)