Self- Mutilation

In: Social Issues

Submitted By jf531
Words 4265
Pages 18
Self- Mutilation There are a number of different ways to define what self-mutilation entails. It is one of the most commonly used phrases, but researchers and mental health professionals have not been able to agree on one specific definition to explain self-inflicted injury. Hence, self-harm, self-injury and self-mutilation are the common phrases used to refer to this type of behavior ( Zila & Kiselica, 2001).
Many people tend to associate self mutilation with suicide, when in fact they are very different. Therefore, when attempting to understand self-mutilation it is important to recognize the distinct differences between self mutilation and suicide. Suicide is an attempt to depart from pain through ending one’s life. While self mutilation is an effort to create relief from a negative affective incident, it differs for each person. It is used as a means for a person to temporarily deal with the pain, rather than abort it all together. In suicidal patients, pain is viewed as everlasting, which makes them feel hopeless. While, on the other hand self-injurers often portray an optimistic attitude (Walsh, 2006). Hence, there is a big difference between the behaviors and intent, which is why it is important to recognize these differences. Self-injurious behavior tends to be separated into two general categories: culturally sanctioned and deviant self mutilation. Culturally sanctioned rituals and practices comprise of ear piercing in the modern U.S culture, sacrament dances amongst Native Americans that entail self-mutilation, and the genital circumcision of Jewish offspring. These practices are commonly approved as standard traditions within in that they occur without question. They frequently are recognized as a rite of passage or to communicate with a higher power( Stone & Sias, 2003). The second category is deviant self mutilation or self injurious behavior. “…...

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