Non-suicidal self-injury is different from suicide because patients do not intend the acts to be lethal, even though the tactics used occasionally overlap with those of suicide attempts (for example, cutting the wrists with a razor blade).
The most typical types of non-suicidal self-injury involve cutting or stab wounds to the skin (eg, knife, razor blade, and needle), skin charring (typically with a cigarette)
Both non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicide-related thoughts and actions belong to a category of actions that cause physical harm to the body. NSSI and suicide-related actions might resemble one another so much that it can be quite challenging to distinguish between the two. In general, the aim makes the most difference in distinction. Patients frequently hurt themselves numerous times in a single session, leaving multiple lesions in the same place, usually in easily concealed but accessible regions (eg, forearms, front of thighs). Patients frequently have trouble sleeping because of thoughts of harmful behaviors.
Contrary to suicide attempts, which are significantly more common in girls, non-suicidal self-injury typically begins in the early teen years and may be slightly more common in women. Although the natural history is unknown, the habit seems to diminish as people get older. Additionally, prevalence is high among the disproportionately male criminal communities.
NSSI is most frequently used to try to control emotional distress or to soothe oneself; it is not used to end one’s life. NSSI is not a sign of suicidal ideation either. Self-injury is a risk factor for NSSI, but there are some significant differences between the two, including but not limited to:
where the avowed purpose is usually always to end life, NSSI is almost always to feel better.
NSSI techniques normally just harm the body’s surface; suicide-related actions are significantly more deadly. Notably, it is quite rare for people who engage in NSSI and who are also suicidal to choose the same strategies for each goal.
NSSI frequently involves the use of techniques intended to harm the body but not fatally harm it in a way that necessitates medical attention or ends life. Suicide attempts are always deadlier than typical NSSI techniques.
To handle stress and other emotions, NSSI is frequently utilized; suicide-related behaviors, however, are significantly less common.
When compared to the psychological discomfort that leads to suicidal thoughts and actions, the level of psychological distress experienced by NSSI is frequently far lower.
Black-and-white thinking, or viewing things as either all or nothing, terrible or good, is a sign of cognitive restriction. There is hardly any room for ambiguity. Suicidal people frequently have strong cognitive constriction; people who utilize NSSI as a coping method have less intense cognitive constriction.
Suicide and NSSI can leave various aftereffects. Although it does happen with NSSI, unintentional death is not prevalent. A typical NSSI occurrence results in a brief improvement in functioning and well-being. The fallout from a gesture or attempt at suicide is the exact opposite.
It’s crucial to remember that NSSI and suicide thoughts and practices share common risk variables despite the differing goals connected to them.
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They consist of, but are not restricted to:
- Feelings of loneliness (this can be true even for people who seem to have many friends or connections)
- History of alcohol or drug abuse
- Presence of depression or anxiety
- Feelings of worthlessness
- High emotional perception and sensitivity
- Few effective coping mechanisms to deal with emotional stress
The existence of NSSI is a risk factor for suicidal thoughts and acts due to these and other risk factors. Take Online Counseling for reducing the risk factors involved with NSSI.
35% to 40% of NSSI users overall will also report having some suicidal thoughts. 65% or more of NSSI users in clinical settings (those with several identified mental disorders) will report some suicidal thoughts.
Suicidality typically occurs during the same general period or following periods of time when NSSI is practiced, but it can occasionally (in around 20% of persons) occur before NSSI.
Although there is a connection between NSSI and suicide conduct, it is significant to highlight that in ordinary (non-clinical) teenage and young adult populations, more than half of those who report NSSI do not record any suicidal thoughts or activities. One can connect with Talk to Angel for Counselling Online and your mental health concerns.