Self Harm In Adolescence Essay

1844 words - 7 pages

Some say that the teenage years are one of the most challenging and trying times in an individual’s life. Many changes take place, both emotionally and physically, which sometimes can give the feeling of excitement… or in other cases… complete confusion and utter turmoil. Because emotions tend to run high during this period of life due to hormones, some teens resort to an unhealthy way of coping to deal with their emotional pain. This unhealthy way of dealing with emotional pain is also known as self injury. Self injury (or self harm) is widely known to take place during the teenage years up until the early years of adulthood (ages 14-24)when judgments become more defined, criticism becomes harsher, and limits are tested. The transition from childhood to adulthood may sound exciting and adventurous to some, but to others, it’s a nightmare they wish they could wake up from.
Let us look into basic and generalized knowledge of self injury. Self injury (self harm or S.I.) is the act of harming yourself as a way of coping with emotional pain, frustration, and anger. Some view it as a suicide attempt or a precursor to a suicide attempt, but it is not a suicide attempt at all. Rather, it is a serious cry for help. When an individual turns to self injury, they look for an emotional release which gives them momentary calmness. “While self-injury may bring a momentary sense of calm and a release of tension, it's usually followed by guilt and shame and the return of painful emotions” (Self Injury 1). Self injury can also result in serious or even fatal injuries (1).
Self injury can take on many forms ranging from the littlest and minor to the major and obscure. There are three categories for self injury: major self-injury, stereotypical self-injury, and superficial self-injury. Major self injury is the most extreme, including anything from castration or an amputation of a body part (Types of Self Injury 1). Stereotypical self injury is usually found amongst people with mental illnesses, which includes head banging (on any hard surface or object), eyeball pressing, and biting themselves (1). The last category, superficial self injury, is the most moderate as well as the most common category for self injury. One of the most common forms of superficial self injury is cutting. This involves cuts or scratches on the skin made with a sharp object or fingernails. Most common places for cutting are the arms, legs, and abdominal area since they are easily hidden by clothing (1). Cutting can become addictive or habit forming because of the temporary emotional release it gives. The more the individual cuts, the more he/she will want to do it the next time and the next time after that, up until he/she is found to be doing it every time they need emotional release. This type of behavior is also known as compulsive behavior. Another form of Self injury is hair pulling, or trichotillomania. This form of self injury involves pulling and removal of hair anywhere...

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