Self Injury

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

download word file, 12 pages 0.0

To intentionally injure an organ as vulnerable and delicate as the skin, go against everything we know about our innate tendency to increase our pleasure and avoid our pain. And out of all the pain inducing things that one might do, why have so many chosen sharp objects to draw blood from their skin (Strong 29). In this paper I am going to research and discuss, the underlying reasons people engage in the act of superficial self-mutilation.

Self-mutilation was once thought to be demonstrated by those people with schizophrenia, autism, or an extreme personality disorder, but in the early nineteen nineties it has gained increased attention in female adolescents and young adults (Zila Kiselica 1). Over one percent of the population engages in the behavior of self-mutilation, and depending on the survey used 85%-97% were of female gender (Nichols 2). This is one of the most puzzling and misunderstood behaviors psychologists face today (Favazza 222).

Due to the very nature of this, many, including professionals are turned off and disgusted, it is thought to be mysterious and incomprehensible (Favazza 225). No one likes self-mutilators; their presence seems to threaten the sense of mental and physical integrity of those around them (Favazza 288), but the key point is all of them hurt, and all of them cause damage to one's body (Clarke, Whittaker 4).

This subject is called many different things: self-inflicted violence, self-injury, self-harm, Para suicide, delicate cutting, self-abuse, and self-mutilation (Le Belle 1). To define this behavior is a hard task, due to the fact that the signs are not recorded systematically or uniformly (Kiselica, Zila 2). The broad definition of this topic is: "a volitional act to harm one's body without intention to cause death" (Kiselica, Zila 2). The definition by Winchel and Stanley is the commission...