Why do Teens Hurt Themselves with Self-Harming Behaviors?

Head against mirror
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Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

Truly understanding why teens self-harm is difficult. Think of it this way: the physical act of hurting her body provides a temporary sense of relief. The teen now focuses on the injury as the reason for her pain and feels a sense of control. In addition, the injury releases endorphins into the blood stream, which creates a sense of well-being.

Self-harm describes any deliberate action intended to cause physical pain. Adolescent males engage in this behavior too, but it is most often females who hurt their bodies in an attempt to deal with difficult feelings or situations. Cutting or scratching the skin with razor blades or other sharp objects is the most common form of self-injury.

Other ways to self-harm include:

  • burning the skin with a cigarette, match or lighter
  • hitting the chest or extremities
  • banging the head against the wall
  • pulling hair from the head, or other places
  • re-opening or picking at wounds
  • biting or pinching the skin

FAQ on Teens and Self-Harm, Cutting and Self-Injury

  • When Teens Self-Harm: How Dangerous Is It?
  • How Do I Know if My Teen Is Engaging in Self-Harm?
  • Other Parenting FAQs:

  • Why does my teen need privacy?
  • How can I get my teen to do their homework?
  • Should parents snoop on their teen?
  • Quick Links: Troubled Teens | Quiz: Is Your Teen At-Risk?

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