Why Do People Engage in Nonsuicidal Self-Injury?

People engage in self-injury for many different reasons. One of the most commonly reported reasons is to cope with negative emotions, such as sadness or anger, or negative thoughts, such as self-criticism 1. Some people also use self-injury as a way to punish themselves, to gain a sense of control, to communicate their pain, to reconnect with themselves or others, or to alleviate numbness 2. Most people report that they engage in self-injury for multiple reasons 3 , and these reasons can change over time 4.

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