4 mental health conditions that increase your risk of self-harm

Self-harm is any behavior in which an individual causes harm to themselves, often as a way to help cope with difficult or distressing thoughts and feelings. It usually occurs in the form of cutting, burning, or overdose.

Cutting is the most common form of self-injury, more than 80% of those who injure themselves choose this method, but it is not the only form.

Self-harm is not the problem, it is a symptom of some other underlying mental health condition.

Some factors that may put an individual at greater risk are:

• Experiencing a mental health disorder. This can include depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders

• Being a young person who is not in the care of a parent or young person who has left a family home

• Be part of the LGBT community

Some individuals are able to manage their troubles by talking to friends and family, while others may find these difficulties overwhelming. When we don’t express our feelings and talk about things that make us miserable, angry, or upset, pressure can build up and become unbearable. Some people self-refute this and use their bodies as a way to express thoughts and feelings that they can’t say out loud.

Studies have found that self-harm is an important cause of hospitalization. The peak age for self-harm is 15-24 years old, and suicide is the third leading cause of death in this age group.

Mental illnesses, particularly depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and alcohol abuse, are well-known risk factors for self-harm. .

Self-harm, also known as non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), is not the same as a suicide attempt. Suicide is a way to end your life. Self-injury is a coping strategy, however, people who injure themselves are 9 times more likely to commit suicide and many of our clients describe chronic suicidal thoughts at the time. injured point.

While self-injury can provide a temporary sense of calm and relieve stress, it often brings back guilt and shame and painful emotions. While non-life-threatening injuries are not usually intended, with self-injury there is the potential for more serious consequences and even death.

Four mental health conditions that can lead to self-harm are:

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that significantly affects a person’s ability to regulate emotions. This loss of emotional control can increase impulsivity, which affects how a person feels about themselves and negatively impacts their relationships with others. They may experience intense mood swings and feel uncertain about how they see themselves. They may act impulsively or recklessly; also indulge in self-harm.

Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is one of the most common mental illnesses and a serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect the way a person feels, thinks, and processes daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. , feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, and decreased energy, fatigue and difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions, trouble sleeping, change changes in appetite or weight, thoughts about death or suicide, or suicide attempts; are symptoms of depression.

Anxiety Disorders Anxiety can get worse over time if left untreated. Symptoms can interfere with daily activities such as work performance, school assignments, and relationships. Symptoms include stress disproportionate to the impact of the event, an inability to eliminate anxiety, and restlessness. People can experience increased blood pressure, irritability, restlessness, lack of concentration, racing thoughts, unwanted thoughts, fatigue, sweating, insomnia, nausea, and palpitations.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder A disorder characterized by the inability to recover from experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. This condition can last for months or even years, with triggers that can evoke memories of the trauma accompanied by emotional and physical backlash. Symptoms may include nightmares, flashbacks, avoidance of traumatic situations, high reactivity to stimuli, anxiety, or depressed mood.

If you are injuring yourself, even mildly, or if you intend to harm yourself, reach out for help. Any form of self-injury is a sign of larger problems that need to be addressed. Talk to someone you trust — someone who can help you take the first steps toward successful treatment. While you may feel ashamed and embarrassed about your behavior, you can find help that is supportive, caring, and non-judgmental.

This article is authored by Sana Rubiyana, Consultant Psychologist, Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore.

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