Understanding Self Mutilative Behavior

Self-injury, also known as self-mutilation or self-harm, is a mental health issue that can be difficult to understand. It involves the deliberate infliction of physical pain on oneself and is often used as a coping mechanism for intense emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt, or shame. Self-injurious behavior can also be a form of self-expression or an attempt to regain control over one’s life. Although it may temporarily provide relief from these emotions, it can be damaging in the long run and should not be taken lightly. Let’s take a closer look at this problem and how it can best be addressed.

Signs of Self Mutilative Behavior

Self mutilation takes many forms including cutting, burning, scratching, hitting oneself, pulling out hair and picking at skin. In addition to physical signs of injury like cuts or burns on their body, those who engage in self mutilative behavior may show changes in their moods or behaviors. This could include isolating themselves from family and friends, withdrawing from activities they previously enjoyed doing, becoming increasingly secretive about their activities or displaying sudden outbursts of strong emotion.

Getting Help

If you are concerned that someone you know is engaging in self mutilative behavior, it’s important to seek help from a professional who specializes in this type of treatment. A qualified mental health provider will work with them to identify the underlying causes for their behavior and provide coping strategies for managing intense emotions in healthier ways. Working with a therapist who understands trauma is essential for healing and learning new skills for managing stress without resorting to self harm. Depending on the severity of their condition, medication may also be prescribed if appropriate.


Self mutilation can have serious consequences if not treated properly; however there is hope for healing from this destructive behavior if individuals get the right help. By understanding what self-harm looks like and seeking assistance from professionals with expertise in this area we can help those affected by this disorder find healthier ways of dealing with difficult emotions and regain control over their lives again.

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