This is the act of hurting yourself on purpose. It's a sign of emotional distress. You feel urges that you can't ignore. You may cut or burn yourself. You may pull your hair or pick at wounds so they don't heal. Self-harm may lead to shame and guilt. These feelings can make you want to hurt yourself again and again.

Why do people hurt themselves?

Why do people hurt themselves? Some do it because they aren't sure how to deal with emotions like anger and frustration. Because pain can feel stimulating, some people hurt themselves just to feel something. Otherwise they feel emotionally numb.

What are the signs?

Self-harm usually begins in the teenage or young adult years. But it can start later. People who self-harm often do it in secret and don't talk about it, so the signs can be hard to spot. Unexplained bruises or bandages are a sign. So are long sleeves and long pants. And, people who self-harm may seem depressed.

Is it the same as suicidal behavior?

Self-harming behavior is not the same as suicidal behavior. But if you self-harm, you may have a higher risk for suicidal thoughts and certain mental disorders.


Self-harm can be treated with talk therapy. Medications may be helpful, too. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.