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Self-Injury Information

  • Self-harm is also known as self-injury (SI), self-inflicted violence (SIV), self-injurious behavior (SIB), and self-mutilation, although this last term has connotations that some people find worrisome, inaccurate, or offensive. When discussing self-harm with someone who engages in it, it is suggested to use the same terms and words which that person uses, e.g. "cutting." ...
  • Self-harm is usually dissociated from an attempt at suicide; the person who self-harms is not usually seeking to end his or her own life, but is instead hoping to cope with or relieve unbearable emotional pressure or some kind of discomfort. The term parasuicide is sometimes used interchangeably with self-harm, though technically this implies non-habitual acts and this can also be inaccurate for the implied suicidal intention, which may not be present.

    A person who is injuring themselves may be advised to use coping skills, such as journaling or taking a walk, when they have the urge to harm themselves. They may also be told to avoid having the objects they use to harm themselves within easy reach. People who rely on habitual self-harm are sometimes psychiatrically hospitalized, based on their stability, and their ability and willingness to get help.

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Dr. Kimberly Dennis
Psychiatrist,
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

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