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Self-injury/cutting – Warning Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

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Non-suicidal Self-injury/cutting is the term used to explain deliberately harming your own body, like cutting or burning yourself. It is done to cope with emotional traumas, anger, and frustration  and it is usually not done with the intention of committing suicide .

This article will give you a general idea of why people indulge in self-harm, its causes, and treatment for self-injurious behavior. Keep reading to learn more.

What is Self-Injury/Cutting?

Self-injury/cutting is the act of deliberately hurting yourself. You may carve something on your skin, burn yourself, hit yourself, or pierce your skin with sharp objects. Your attempts may not be suicidal but a way of coping with emotional stress.

Underlying Causes of Self Injury/Cutting

Various causes that may lead to self-injury/ cutting include –

  • Mental health problems such as bipolar disorder (BPD), 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Having feelings of rejection, self-hatred, worthlessness, confusion
  • Poor coping skills

What are the Symptoms of Self Injury?

Symptoms of self-injury may include:

When Should You See a Doctor?

Visit a doctor if you often keep injuring yourself or if you have thoughts of harming yourself. Any form of self-injury or harmful thoughts (not necessarily suicidal) indicates more serious underlying issues that need to get addressed.

If you want to find non-judgemental and supportive help, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Call 1860-500-1066 to book an appointment.

What are the Risk Factors that May Trigger Self-Injury/Cutting?

Some factors that may lead to self-harm include –

Complications Associated with Self-Injury/Cutting

Self-injury/cutting may lead to severe complications that include –

  • Wound infections
  • Permanent scars
  • Worsening of already existing disorders
  • Accidents and death

How can Self-Injury/Cutting be treated?

There is one single to treat self-harming behavior. Treatment gets based on your specific issues and health conditions. Treating self-injury might take time, but it is curable. Some of the treatment options include –

Talk therapy

It is usually the first step of treatment. There are three types of talk therapy (psychotherapy):

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): It helps in identifying and replacing unhealthy beliefs with healthy ones.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A type of CBT focused on behavioral techniques to cope with stress and improving  your relationships with others.
  • Mindfulness-based Therapy: It is a meditative therapy that helps in aligning your thoughts, reducing your anxiety, and improving your general well-being.


There is no known medicinal cure for treating self-injurious behavior. However, if your condition gets triggered due to depression or anxiety, your doctor may prescribe certain antidepressants.

Caution: Please do not take any medicines without consulting your doctor. 


Depending on the frequency of self-harming events, your doctor may suggest hospitalization. It is often short-term and will provide you with a safe environment. You will receive treatment until you get through the trauma.


There are various underlying reasons why people practise  self-harm. It is vital to seek medical assistance or talk to your close ones if you find yourself self-injuring deliberately or have harmful thoughts cross your mind. Self-harming behavior can be treated , and if not, it may lead to fatality.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How common is self-injury among teenagers?

About 12-24% of teenagers in India practise self-injury. It may be due to the academic pressure or emotional turmoils

What can the parents do to help their kid suffering from self-harm?
  • Do not shout at them, rather talk to them with empathy, love, and concern.
  • Keep a non-judgmental attitude while talking to people who injure themselves 
  • Be supportive, and let them know you have got their back.
  • Try to understand their emotions or what they are going through.
Are self-injurious people suicidal?

Not necessarily. Often people who do self-harm don’t have suicidal thoughts. However, frequent episodes of self-injury may lead to deaths due to accidents , wounds and infections.

Do people find pleasure in self-injury/cutting?

Some studies show that self-harm may evoke feelings of pleasure in some people. And that’s why they may have a constant urge to injure themselves so that they can feel happy  and calm .Self-injury is similar to drug addiction, according to some studies.

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