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Seeking treatment for self-harm

Posted on Wednesday, 11 January 2012, in Depression, Self Harm

What is Self Harm?

For many people self harm is an issue difficult to understand. For those who self-harm it may feel like an addiction. It brings a release of emotion but only in the short-term.

Self harm can take many different forms but it is generally an act of deliberately causing harm to yourself – this can be by causing physical injury or self-mutilation or by neglecting to care for yourself or putting yourself in a dangerous situation. Eating disorders can also be a form of self-harm.

Different ways that people can self harm include:

  • Cutting, burning, biting
  • Over dosing
  • Self-poisoning
  • Substance abuse
  • Head banging and hitting
  • Picking and scratching at wounds
  • Pulling out hair


Sadly anyone can self-harm there are no strict stereotypes and can be any age, sex, status or ethnicity.

Why do people self-harm?

Self-harm is a complex issue and there can many reasons that lay behind the problem. However, it is primarily a coping strategy that helps the individual manage the stress in their lives, providing a form of emotional release and way of feeling in control.

Self harm can also be a form of self-punishment; a way of expressing negative feelings or simply to disconnect from life.

Hiding the truth

For the majority of cases self harm is hidden and individuals will go to extraordinary lengths to hide scars and bruises or self-harm in areas of the body not easily seen. They will also avoid seeking medical treatment.

Is it a sign of suicide?

A common belief is that if a person is self-harming then they must be considering suicide. This is rarely the case. Self harm is a method of coping with the emotional distress and its function is predominantly to prevent suicide.

Seeking help for Self Harm

At Clinical Partners we have leading consultant specialising in the treatment of child and adolescent self harm called Dr Dennis Ougrin – read more about him.

If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of self-harm we have a team of experienced and understanding psychiatrists and psychotherapists who will be able to help you. Call Caroline on 0203 326 9160 to arrange a treatment session.


Emilie Head

Emilie Head Business Development and Content Editor BA(Hons), ACMA, MBACP

Emilie has three main roles at Clinical Partners – managing our NHS Partnerships, developing the services our Clinicians offer and writing and editing web content.

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