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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Self Harm

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Self Harm


Self-harm is when people deliberately inflict physical harm on themselves. It is not necessarily a suicide attempt and may not mean the person wants to die. People who self-harm are usually doing so to try and alter their mood, especially if they are angry or depressed. Self harm includes deliberately cutting, burning, biting and hitting your body.


Self harm can bring an immediate sense of relief but it is only a temporary solution. It can also cause permanent damage to your body if you damage nerves. If you or a friend are hurting themselves deliberately it is important that you take care of the injuries caused and if necessary, seek medical help.


It may also be necessary to speak to someone like a your local doctor or a psychologist or counsellor to help work through some of the reasons for hurting yourself and find alternative strategies for alleviating the pain you feel inside.


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In trying to stop hurting yourself, it is usually important that you have support from a friend, family member and/or health professional. It may also be necessary to have some alternative strategies to self harm for managing your emotions.


If you are feeling like you want to hurt yourself there are a number of things that you may try to distract yourself until the feelings become more manageable. Make sure that you are around people and remove any sharp objects. Some ideas for releasing energy or feelings include


Scream it Dream it - A place where you can release some of the emotions by writing things down and shooting them away in a rocket.


Do some exercise - Go for a run or walk to use up some excess energy.


Play video games - This may be a good way to distract you and help until the anxiety passes.


Learn relaxation techniques - Activities like yoga or specific relaxation techniques are often helpful in reducing anxiety.


Talk to someone - Talk with supportive friends or call a helpline like Lifeline (1 11 14) or Kids help line (1800 55 1800).


Suicides among young people nationwide have increased dramatically in recent years. Each year in the U.S., thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-to-4-year-olds, and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year-olds.


Teenagers experience strong feelings of stress, confusion, self-doubt, pressure to succeed, financial uncertainty, and other fears while growing up.


For some teenagers, divorce, the formation of a new family with step-parents and step-siblings, or moving to a new community can be very unsettling and can intensify self-doubts. In some cases, suicide appears to be a solution.


Depression and suicidal feelings are treatable mental disorders. The child or adolescent needs to have his or her illness recognized and diagnosed, and appropriate treatment plans developed. When parents are in doubt whether their child has a serious problem, a psychiatric examination can be very helpful.


Many of the symptoms of suicidal feelings are similar to those of depression. Parents should be aware of the following signs of adolescents who may try to kill themselves


change in eating and sleeping habits


withdrawal from friends, family, and regular activities


violent actions, rebellious behavior, or running away


drug and alcohol use


unusual neglect of personal appearance


marked personality change


persistent boredom, difficulty concentrating, or a decline in the quality of schoolwork


frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.


loss of interest in pleasurable activities


not tolerating praise or rewards


A teenager who is planning to commit suicide may also


complain of being a bad person or feeling rotten inside


give verbal hints with statements such as I wont be a problem for you much longer, Nothing matters, Its no use, and I wont see you again


put his or her affairs in order, for example, give away favorite possessions, clean his or her room, throw away important belongings, etc.


become suddenly cheerful after a period of depression


have signs of psychosis (hallucinations or bizarre thoughts)


If a child or adolescent says, I want to kill myself, or Im going to commit suicide, always take the statement seriously and seek evaluation from a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other physician. People often feel uncomfortable talking about death. However, asking the child or adolescent whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful. Rather than putting thoughts in the childs head, such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young person the chance to talk about problems.


If one or more of these signs occurs, parents need to talk to their child about their concerns and seek professional help when the concerns persist. With support from family and professional treatment, children and teenagers who are suicidal can heal and return to a more healthy path of development.


It is important to take the subject of suicide seriously. It doesnt seem right that a teen-ager - who has lived for such a short time - would choose to die. But adolescents who cant get over their depression sometimes do kill themselves.


Boys commit suicide more often than girls, but no one is immune. In one recent survey of high school students, 60 percent said they had thought about killing themselves. About percent said they had tried at least once.


Why has the youth suicide rate gone so high in recent years?


Its easier to get the tools for suicide (Boys often use firearms to kill themselves; girls usually use pills);


the pressures of modern life are greater;


competition for good grades and college admission is stiff; and


theres more violence in the newspapers and on television.


Lack of parental interest may be another problem. Many children grow up in divorced households; for others, both of their parents work and their families spend limited time together. According to one study 0 percent of suicidal teen-agers believed their families did not understand them. (However, this is such a common teen-age complaint that other factors are playing a role, too.) Young people also reported that when they tried to tell their parents about their feelings of unhappiness or failure, their mother and father denied or ignored their point of view.


If your teen-ager has been depressed, you should look closely for signs that he or she might be thinking of suicide


Has his personality changed dramatically?


Is he having trouble with a girlfriend (or, for girls, with a boyfriend)? Or is he having trouble getting along with other friends or with parents? Has he withdrawn from people he used to feel close to?


Is the quality of his schoolwork going down? Has he failed to live up to his own or someone elses standards (when it comes to school grades, for example)?


Does he always seem bored, and is he having trouble concentrating?


Is he acting like a rebel in an unexplained and severe way?


Is she pregnant and finding it hard to cope with this major life change?


Has he run away from home?


Is your teen-aager abusing drugs and/or alcohol?


Is she complaining of headaches, stomachaches, etc., that may or may not be real?


Have his eating or sleeping habits changed?


Has his or her appearance changed for the worse?


Is he giving away some of his most prized possessions?


Is he writing notes or poems about death?


Does he talk about suicide, even jokingly? Has he said things such as, Thats the last straw, I cant take it anymore, or Nobody cares about me? (Threatening to kill oneself precedes four out of five suicidal deaths.)


Has he tried to commit suicide before?


If you suspect that your teen-ager might be thinking about suicide, do not remain silent. Suicide is preventable, but you must act quickly.


Ask your teen-ager about it. Dont be afraid to say the word suicide. Getting the word out in the open may help your teen-ager think someone has heard his cries for help.


Reassure him that you love him. Remind him that no matter how awful his problems seem, they can be worked out, and you are willing to help.


Ask her to talk about her feelings. Listen carefully. Do not dismiss her problems or get angry at her.


Remove all lethal weapons from your home, including guns, pills, kitchen utensils and ropes.


Seek professional help. Ask your teen-agers pediatrician to guide you. A variety of outpatient and hospital-based treatment programs are available.





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