The behaviour involves deliberate tissue damage that is usually performed without suicidal intent. The term self-mutilation is also sometimes used, although this phrase evokes connotations that some find worrisome, inaccurate, or offensive.
The most common form of self-harm involves cutting of the skin using a sharp object, e. This differs from the common definition of self-harm, as damage is inflicted for a specific secondary purpose.
Just like these other disorders, once the self harming behaviours cross a certain threshold, it then becomes classified as a mental health disorder.
Genetics may contribute to the risk of developing other psychological conditions, such as anxiety or depression, which could in turn lead to self-harming behaviour.
A common belief regarding self-harm is that it is an attention-seeking behaviour; however, in many cases, this is inaccurate.
Many self-harmers are very self-conscious of their wounds and scars and feel guilty about their behaviour, leading them to go to great lengths to conceal their behaviour from others.
These functions include self-harm being used as a coping mechanism which provides temporary relief of intense feelings such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional numbness and a sense of failure or self-loathing.
There is also a positive statistical correlation between self-harm and emotional abuse.