Self-mutilation is a general term for a variety of forms of intentional self-harm without the wish to die. Cutting one's skin with razors or knives is the most common pattern of self-mutilation. Others include biting, hitting, or bruising oneself; picking or pulling at skin or hair; burning oneself with lighted cigarettes, or amputating parts of the body.
The relationship of self-mutilation to suicide is still debated even though statistics show that nearly 50% of individuals who injure themselves also attempt suicide at some point in their lives. Many researchers think that suicide attempts reflect feelings of rejection or hopelessness, while self-mutilation results from feelings of shame or a
need to relieve tension.
Causes and symptoms
self-mutilation is an outlet for strong negative emotions, especially anger or shame, that the person is afraid to express in words or discuss with others.
self-mutilation represents anger at someone else directed against the self.
self-mutilation relieves unbearable tension or anxiety Many self-mutilators do report feeling relief after an episode of self-cutting or other injury.
self-mutilation is a technique for triggering the body's biochemical responses to pain. Stress and trauma release endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-killing substances
self-mutilation is a way of stopping a dissociative episode. Dissociation is a process in which the mind splits off, or dissociates, certain memories and thoughts that are too painful to keep in conscious awareness. Some people report that they feel "numb" or "dead" when they dissociate, and self-injury allows them to feel "alive."