Self-mutilation is a general term for a variety of forms of intentional self-harm without the wish to die.
Cutting one's skin with razors or knives is the most common pattern of self-mutilation.
Others include biting, hitting, or bruising oneself; picking or pulling at skin or hair; burning oneself with lighted cigarettes, or amputating parts of the body.
Several different theories have been proposed to explain self-mutilation as follows:
* an outlet for strong negative emotions, especially anger or shame, that the person is afraid to express in words or discuss with others;
* anger at someone else directed against the self;
* relief of unbearable tension or anxiety;
* technique for triggering the body's biochemical responses to pain, release endorphins, which are the body's natural pain-killing substances;
* a symbolic acting-out of the larger culture's mistreatment of women;
* a way of stopping a dissociative episode.
Dissociation is a process in which the mind splits off, or dissociates, certain memories and thoughts that are too painful to keep in conscious awareness.
Some people report that they feel “numb” or “dead” when they dissociate, and self-injury allows them to feel “alive”.
The symptoms of self-mutilation typically include:
* wearing long-sleeved or baggy clothing, even in hot weather; and
* an unusual need for privacy. Self-mutilators are often hesitant to change their clothes or undress around others.
* In most cases the person has also shown signs of depression.
A number of different treatment approaches are used with self-mutilators, including psychodynamic psychotherapy, group therapy, journaling, and behavioural therapy.
Mindfulness training, which is a form of meditation, is used to teach self-mutilators to observe and identify their feelings in order to have some control over them (149).
Counselling and Psychotherapy may be provided via Skype and FaceTime in the comfort of your home, office or any place of your choice.