Different people use different techniques to deal with pain, success, defeat and other issues that they may come across. Some are healthy, like exercise or harder work, while others are dangerous and counterproductive. Self-harm is a dangerous and destructive way that some people deal with their emotions. It is any activity that involves inflicting pain and suffering on one’s self. These individuals cut, burn, bang, inject themselves or take too many pills. Some only engage in this behavior once or twice before giving up and finding a more constructive way to cope with life. Others continue to abuse their own bodies for years. This behavior normally develops in teenagers who are struggling to deal with family life, school and their own development. New studies have found that these teens have a higher risk for developing emotional problems that could easily push them towards substance abuse and addiction.

Collecting and Analyzing the Data of Self-Harm

The latest study sent out nearly 10,000 questionnaires and received half of them back. The results were astounding. Roughly 4,800 that were returned by predominantly white, females whose mothers had higher levels of education, higher income and higher social class. The researchers found that women were more likely to become self-harms. They also found that those women had negative self-images and had mothers who also showed behaviors of negative self-image by the time they were eleven. There have not been any correlations of self-harm and ethnicity, although the study found that self-harm was more predominant in teens whose mothers performed manual labor. The study also separated those who self-harmed themselves with the intention of ending their lives, which was considered a suicidal thought and action. Roughly 19 percent of the returned questionnaires came from women who had a history of self-harm and those who sought professional help at one time. As this study was piggybacking another long-term study, the researchers found out that several years later that these young girls had higher rates of mental illness. Most suffered from stress, anxiety and depression this result directly supports the idea that those who self-harm can develop an addiction later in life. Professionals agree that self-harm is not directly related to mental illness or addiction, but it is a clear sign that something is not right. Those with suicidal tendencies were more likely to use and abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Addiction and Teens

Teenagers have a higher risk of substance abuse and addiction because they have underdeveloped brains. They do not properly analyze their actions and the repercussions of those actions. As a result, teens are much more likely to engage in dangerous and risky behaviors. Using and abusing drugs and alcohol are some of the ways teens try to fit in or cope with the complexities of being a teenager. Those teens who have a history of self-harm are more likely to suffer from depression, stress and anxiety. These mental health issues can push a person to abuse drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. This is the wrong way to deal with these problems. Self-harm should be seen for what it is, a cry for help. If you or someone you know is self-harming speak with a professional immediately. They could be suicidal or in desperate need of help. Self-harm can easily develop into substance abuse and addiction. There are several of helpful hotlines for self-harm, mental illness and substance abuse. Speaking with parents, friends, family, teachers and guidance counselors is the best way to handle the situation. Do not wait; get help as soon as possible.