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Home > Health Library > Non-Suicidal Self-Injury
Non-suicidal self-injury means that a person injures themself on purpose. For example, they may cut, scratch, or bite their skin until it bleeds. Self-injury is serious. So it's important to seek help from a health professional. People who self-injure don't do it to die. But some may also be thinking about suicide.
To assess, the doctor may ask how often the injuries happen and if they bleed, bruise, or cause pain. You may be asked how self-injuring makes you feel. The doctor also may ask questions to find out if you have other health conditions, like depression.
There are things that may put you at risk of self-injury. For example, you may be at risk if you:
Signs that a person might be self-injuring include:
If you or someone you know is self-injuring, talk to a doctor or a mental health professional.
Self-injury is treated with counseling. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are common types of counseling for self-injury. Medicines are sometimes used with counseling. Ask your doctor about the different types of treatment. Then you can decide together about what might work best.
Here are some ways you can care for yourself if you self-injure.
Look for someone who makes you feel safe and welcome. You can ask your doctor for a referral.
A health professional such as your doctor or counselor can help you.
Look for a self-injury support group. Ask for help from trusted friends, family, and community members.
Use these skills when you have big feelings, anxiety, and stress. A counselor can help you find what works for you. For example, together you may learn that yoga, deep breathing, or certain music calms you.
If it's an emergency or if you are in a crisis, get help right away. Call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Or text HOME to 741741 to access the Crisis Text Line.
Current as of:
June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral HealthLesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
Current as of: June 16, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Andrew Littlefield PhD - Psychology, Behavioral Health & Lesley Ryan MD - Family Medicine
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