What is Self-Injury?

Did you know that the first of March every year is set aside as the Self-Injury Awareness Day worldwide? Did you know that the orange ribbon is a symbol that has been adopted to promote awareness of self-injury? If you did not know these before, now you do.

Self-injury is the act of intentionally injuring yourself. It occurs when a person purposely harms or hurts his/her body.

Self-injury is also called self-harm, deliberate self-harm, self-mutilation, self-injurious behaviour, non-suicidal self-injury, self-abuse or cutting.

A lot of times when a person self-injures, it can be very scary and look like a suicide attempt. But, people who self-injure usually do so without intending to commit suicide. An individual who engages in self-harm does not intend for it to be life-threatening or to end up in death. However, there is always the possibility of these actions ending up becoming more serious than was intended – resulting in serious health problems, or even death. Self-harm is usually done impulsively.

When a person self-injures, it is the person’s way of coping with problems, certain intense emotions, and distress – like intense anger, frustration, overwhelming emotional pain, etc. and it could actually make the person feel better – but it does so only for a little while. And then, the emotions that the individual had been trying to escape from come back, and he/she would feel like hurting his/herself again. A vicious cycle, isn’t it?

It is an unhealthy way of coping.

There are many forms of self-injury – many ways people hurt themselves and cutting is the most common of them all. It can be carried out on any part of the body; but the parts of the body that are commonly involved are the thighs, wrists, stomach and hands.

Self-injury is an unhealthy and potentially harmful habit. Some people do it a few times and stop while some do it repeatedly. And contrary to popular opinion in Nigeria, it is a very real problem. It would surprise many to know the number of people in Nigeria that battle with this problem.

It is important to know that individuals who self-injure usually keep it secret.

Anyone who hurts his/herself on purpose is engaging in self-injury. It is a sign of emotional distress when you hurt yourself or think about hurting yourself.

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Somso Kizor enjoys words. She loves reading good books and writing - amongst other things. Somso is passionate about educating people about their health; as this would reduce the burden of diseases and deaths (hence, suffering) all over the world. Let's not forget the popular saying that goes "health is wealth." For more details, send an email to info@healthfacts.ng

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