While self-harm seems like it would be visible and noticeable in your loved one, the truth is that those who self-harm are often skilled at hiding their self-mutilation from those that care for them. By understanding some of the symptoms of self-injury, you will be in a better position to get your loved one the treatment that he or she needs.
What Is Self-Injury?
There are a number of behaviors that fall into the category of self-harm. Self-mutilation and other self-injury behaviors are not necessarily suicided attempts. Self-harm is the act of causing deliberate injury, illness, or pain to your own body for a variety of emotional and mental reasons. Some self-harm acts can include the following:
- Cutting arms, legs, or other body parts with a sharp instrument such as a razor blade, a knife, or a pair of scissors
- Burning with a flame or by using harsh chemicals
- Intentionally taking drugs or alcohol in an effort to cause physical harm or cover emotional and mental wounds
- Pulling hair out systematically
- Eating disorders
Not all self-harming behaviors are an effort to gain attention. Your loved one who has been self-mutilating may go to great lengths to cover injuries.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Self-Mutilation
The symptoms of self-injury can vary depending on the types of negative behaviors that your loved one is participating in. Some of the symptoms of self-harm may include the following:
- Unexplained cuts, burns, or bruises
- Scars and fresh wounds
- Intentional overdoses or binge drinking without the intent of suicide
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants in hot weather
- Defensive attitudes about injuries and wounds
Your loved one may make up excuses or playoff injuries as a result of being careless and clumsy. Self-harm and alcoholism or self-harm and drug abuse are often seen together. As your loved one sinks deeper into a negative emotional spiral, their alcoholism, drug abuse, and self-harming behaviors are going to intensify.