Studying a History in Harm

Self injury treatment for suicide prevention

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Self-injury is a cause of concern or fear among many people, especially family members, loved ones, and others who care for victims of self-injury. Doctors are aiming to alleviate those fears by assessing the history of this affliction from child to adulthood.

Mental Health America, the oldest and largest U.S. nonprofit organization working with mental health and illness, estimates that about two million people in the United States injure themselves, the majority being teenagers and young adults.

The organization explains some victims harm themselves for control, while others are trying to release the pain of their internal struggles. Most sufferers are not trying to take their own lives, unfortunately however, victims of self-harm are not always in control of situations resulting from self-injury.

Early detection and treatment works--speak with a therapist.

The passage from boy into man and girl into woman brings about a historically tough transition--one often marked by a steep increase in the occurence of suicide. With so many new methods of mental health treatment, a recent study sheds light on the commonalities of those inflicting self-harm.

Published in global health journal The Lancet, a recent study recruited 1,802 adolescents from 44 schools from 1992 to 2008. Questionnaires and telephone interviews gathered information on self-harm in seven waves of follow-up. The study measured antisocial behavior, anxiety, depression, parental separation, as well as the use of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis.

Of the respondents, eight-percent indicated self-harm, girls more often than boys. The study found self-harm associated with depression and anxiety, antisocial behavior, high-risk alcohol use, cigarette smoking, and marijuana-use in childhood. Additionally, anxiety and depression had strong associations with self-harm in early adulthood.

If you or someone you love engages in self-harm, medical treatment is the best option for the prevention of further injury.  

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
November 18, 2011
Last Updated:
November 25, 2011