Dealing with Self-Harm

PART OF SERIES Close to Home Series
2012, 11 pp
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Why do people self-harm?
Self-harm is a coping mechanism for dealing with chronic and overwhelming emotional pain. By inflicting short-term physical pain, emotional pain is temporarily eased or erased. One reason is that endorphins - natural pain killers - are released in the brain when one is injured. A second reason is that the sense of despair, sadness, and emotional pain is converted into specific sites of physical pain.

People who hurt themselves may do so because of feeling deep sadness, self-hatred, emptiness, guilt, or anger. Or perhaps they have low self-esteem and feel that they are worthless and deserve to be punished.

A cycle of self-harm is difficult to stop; it can feel like an addiction.

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