Self harm is the action of hurting oneself. Intentional harm is popularly thought of to be done by cutting or burning of the skin, punching oneself, or throwing oneself against hard objects. The caused pain is to receive an emotional release to feel better from the action. In modern times it’s viewed as controversial and unhealthy. Self-harmers are portrayed as mentally ill. Most people try to hide their scars from others which can make treatment more difficult.. Self-harming effects all demographics. From pain inflicted the victim’s brain releases beta endorphin, calming the person and becoming a natural emotional painkiller. Self harming is shown to be triggered by depression in many cases however, people who self harm are usually not suicidal.
My working thesis
Self harm is causing pain to oneself but the human body responds positively to it. It is an addiction similar to drugs or alcohol. In many cases, treatment of the behavior makes the problem worse.
A person inflicting pain on themselves is helpful. Self-harm is portrayed as a bad action but doing so has benefits. The action springs from feelings of sadness and can fix the problem. It’s a temporary fix but the good feeling is beneficial. Beta endorphin released scientifically allow the person to relax. Self harming is rarely done with the intention of killing oneself. It is used mainly as a way to release negative emotions. The release of negative emotions is healthy and can prevent suicide. It’s a way for the person to cope with their daily problems.
Topics for more discussion/Possible expansion:
-Many people do actions that can be viewed as self harm without even realizing they are doing so. Self harm is used in similar ways that people use drugs, alcohol, excessive exercise, sex, and food to cope with problems.
-Majority of doctors view self harm as a unhealthy action. This view makes it harder to help their patients. Telling the person what they are doing it a problem can make them feel worse and more inclined to harm.
-Self harmers do not intend to kill themselves while harming. Suicide and harming are two different issues.
Current State of the Research Paper:
This topic is interesting to me and has a lot of research put into it. I am still working on creating a better thesis. It is a difficult topic to write about. I do not want my paper to be a self harm support essay but instead to create a more open minded view on the idea of self harm. The way the body reacts positively to intentional harm and therapy from pain are both counter intuitive points. There is a lot to learn about how people think.
1. Self Harm
Self-harm occurs when someone is to hurt or harm themselves. Popularly it is thought to be done by cutting, burning, or punching one’s own body. Someone who self-harms is usually in a state of high emotional distress. Some self-harmers’ only do it once or twice but many do it regularly and develop an addiction. People may also harm in less obvious ways such as recklessly taking drugs, unsafe sex, binge drinking, or not eating. Self harming can be done by anyone but more often is committed by young women, prisoners, the gay community and people who have experiences sexual abuse as a child. Self harm can make a person feel in control and reduce uncomfortable feelings of tension.
This source provides information on defining self harm. It lists what actions are considered as harm and discusses the feelings and motives that come from inflicted pain. It also answers many other questions usually asked about harming and provides statistics about people who harm and what it means to them.
Research indicates that self-harm occurs in one to four percent of adults, fifteen percent of teens, and more than seventeen percent of college students in the United States. The act of inflicting pain can come from psychiatric disorders, personality disorders, dissociation disorders, and depression. Self-injury and suicidal behavior are mostly differentiated by intent, method, and psychological impact. Most self-injurers report that the intention of harm is to reduce negative affect or emotion and not to kill themselves. Intentional cutting accounts for only approximately two percent of completed suicides. Self harm is associated with decreases in negative emotion and reports of increases in positive affect.
This source provides in depth information about self harm. I want to use this article to show the difference between suicide and harming. This also provides statistics showing the percentage of people who self harm. The article specifically states that the action is associated with decreasing negative emotions.
The average person’s understanding of self harm is distorted. Self harmers never intend to do anything but disfigure and harm their bodies. When this subject is mentioned society is censorious in its treatment and reaction. Samantha Warner, a practising clinical psychologist sees ‘self-harm’ as a positive statement and a perfectly rational course of action. Self harm should be viewed as therapeutic. Harming is a coping strategy. The majority view point of harming makes it difficult to appreciate its value to both self harmer. Many health services focus on preventing more incidents but this often causes more emotional distress. A new approach is being pioneered to allow young people a “safe self harm.”
This article brought up many questions to think about and will be useful in my paper. This shows that some psychologists don’t portrait self harm as bad and doing so does more harm than good, another counter intuitive point. The reasoning of Samantha Warner are controversial but are well supported and make sense. This article supports my white paper and this will be a very useful source.
Experts say most people engage in self-injury as a way to cope with their negative emotions and injurers report that it work. It calms them and brings a sense of relief. The soothing results from the release of endorphin that relieve pain and produce happiness. People use self harm in similar ways that people use drugs, alcohol, food or sex. Matthew Nock, a professor of psychology at Harvard came up with four main reasons for harming; relieve tension, feel something, show they are distressed, and to get others to stop bothering them. The behavior can begin at any point in life but adolescences is the usual time it begins. In early adolescence part of the brain involved in emotion is not fully developed and therefore can spark the behavior. Self-injury is also an easily accessible behavior for teens who have a hard time getting drugs or alcohol. A study has also shown that harmers had lower levels of opioids in their bodies and this deficiency makes the person harm to boost their opioid levels. Endorphins are a type of opioid.
This source shows a science prospective of harming. It discusses the chemicals in the brain that can lead to harming and why the calming feeling is a result of pain. This goes past harming due to past experiences and shows that it can be genetic. The body is counter intuitive creating something good from a bad feeling.
Self harm is also referred to as self-mutilation. It becomes impulsive and addicting. It is recognized a psychiatric disorder. Like drinking or drugs there are harmful side effects. Symptoms of self-harm are scars, fresh cuts, bruises, hair loss, broken bones, and insecurity. It also leads to people self isolating themselves. Physical injury distracts a person from the painful emotion and helps them feel a sense of control. It has been described to be used to feel less numb and detached from the world. Treatment is difficult and in many cases can actually worsen emotional state.
This source is from a treatment center. It describes the way they help their patients and discusses the symptoms of self harm. This also brings up treatment creating a worse emotional state of mind.