Self Harm Reason Found

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The reason why people who are suffering from emotional stress often show a tendency to hurt themselves has been underpinned by new research.

The prevalence of self injury in persons, who have a borderline personality disorder, is down to the intense emotions they feel, with the self harm apparently easing the emotional distress they experience.

Picture Response

The scientists who have performed the research in this area used a series of pictures in order to induce a response from the participants in the study.

The pictures were designed to receive a negative positive or neutral response.

Thermal Stimuli

There was also a thermal stimuli applied which induced a perception in the participants pertaining to heat, pain or warmth perception. The study found that with the application of the stimuli in borderline personality disorder patients, there was an increased activation of the limbic circuitry.

This was in response to the pictures which were expected to receive a positive and a negative response. The findings were that these responses were consistent with the emotion regulation issues possessed by the participants.

Reactivity Repressed

Emotional reactivity was however repressed by the use of the thermal stimuli. This stimuli, served to inhibit the activation of the amygdala in the patients. This finding was consistent with the assumption that some relief is provided to these persons when they practice self harm, it provides them indeed with some relief from bouts of emotional distress.

It was found that this is so because quite paradoxically, the pain inhibits the brain regions which deal with emotions. Dr John Krystal believes that the process used helps these people compensate for their own emotional mechanisms which are deficient.


Self harm is often caused by a deeply rooted emotional pain, with many of the self harmers not even aware that they are self harming. There is consequently no such thing as a regular self harmer as in type of individual. It may be a very secret thing in a person’s life, and they may be introverted or extroverted.

It can come from simple things like the pressures inherent with school or college exams, with girls most susceptible to the development of self harm issues. It is most prevalent in persons between 15-25 years-of-age. It is also most prevalent in certain ethnicities, such as in Asians, so too it is more likely to occur amongst the LGB youth community than within other communities.

Men Unlikely to Self Harm

Of those men who do go to self harm, their methods are more of a self injurious type. This is a catalogue of who are the most at risk persons in free society, yet it is evident from statistical analysis that those persons who are in prison or in institutions are very vulnerable to self harm.

The bulk of persons who do attempt self harm do so after the consumption of alcohol.


Depression and severe anxiety are precursors to self harm, but the two do not always go hand in hand, with a range of other reasons dominating the risk table. Here is the list of things in a person’s life which most often leads to self harm.

Bullying can play a part, along with worries about our sexuality, leaving the LGB community at particularly high risk. Unwanted pregnancy often leads to it, along with low self esteem, a lack of love from those who should be your loved ones, bereavement, anxiety, loneliness, money problems and relationship issues.

It is believed that problems in the workplace pertaining not only to work load but the relationships therein, and if the individual is fitting in also has a profound effect on the individuals’ likelihood to self harm.

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