Self-mutilation Essay

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There are many different definitions for self-mutilations, also known as self-injury, self-harm, or self-inflicted violence. One definition of self-mutilation is that is any self-directed, repetitive behavior that causes physical injury. Another definition is that self-mutilation is self-inflicted physical harm severe enough to cause tissue damage done without suicidal intent. This is just one example of the blurriness of the boundaries of self-mutilation.
     It is very hard to pin point exactly who or why people self-mutilate, however there are known risk factors. The known risk factors are: the female gender, of adolescence and college age, involved in substance abuse, having a personality disorder, and
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Another factor is the biological predisposition. There is evidence that indicates that self-injurers have specific problems within the brain’s serotonergic system that cause an increase in impulsivity and aggression.
     There are four types of self mutilation. The first one, which would be the worst type, is severe self-mutilation. This self-mutilation manifests as extensive body damage. This damage is often irreversible and is not normally repeated. An example of this would be the gouging of the eyes, or amputation. These acts are normally carried out in an intense psychotic state, or intoxicated by illegal substances. The second type of self-mutilation most often occurs in people who are mentally retarded. This type is called stereotyped self-mutilation, because it has a stereotyped and repetitive rhythm. An example of this would be the banging of ones head. The third type of self-mutilation is most commonly seen in the general psychiatric practice. This type is called superficial self-mutilation; it is simply defined as moderate self-mutilation. Some examples of this type of self-mutilation are cutting of the skin, burning, and picking at the skin. These behaviors are most often repetitive. These tendencies are carried out by nonpsychotic and nonmentally retarded patients. The last type of self-mutilation is socially accepted self-mutilation. This type would include ear piercings, tattoos, or culturally based

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