Self-harm describes any act where a person deliberately and intentionally injures themselves, usually without suicidal intent. It can take many forms, such as cutting, burning, punching, or bruising. Sometimes this is an attempt to get help or attention, sometimes an effort to feel something—anything—instead of being dissociated, and sometimes people self-harm to gain a sense of power or self-control. With attention and guidance, it is possible to replace these harmful habits and desires with much more effective coping strategies.
If you or someone you know is in immediate need of support, please seek professional help. If you are in crisis, here are some immediate free resources.
Armando Favazza’s pioneering work identified a wide range of forces, many of them cultural and societal, that compel or impel people to mutilate themselves. This new edition examines the explosive growth in the incidence of self-injurious behaviors and body modification practices.