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looking for advice for helping self harmers

Category: Suicide Awareness

Date: 10 May 2017

Created By : Sisyphus

So I have a friend who is suicidal and self harms themselves. I'm not sure how to help them but I know I am the only who can. Its worth noting she is going to therapy but she doesn't want help from them and she doesn't trust her parents anymore and I've heard taking away there tools can be very risky. They have been doing it less since I have gotten closer to them but I'm still afraid they will do it again. What annoys me is I have tried to research self harm in teens: the psychological reason why they do it and how to stop it. I'm annoyed because there is very little information  and awareness on how to help them other than suicide hotline numbers. This irritates me because the people I know don't want to die when they do it they want too feel something. Still no articles of help on it. What I did find is the science which is shockingly hard to find is interesting and pretty simple: When you self harm it not only gives you a sense of control over yourself but it also releases  large amounts of dopamine and endorphins in the brain making it similar to an addictive substance. So I ask if anyone has any advice on how I can help my friend it would be much appreciated.

Profile 16 May 2017
Reply Life-Iz-Good

Hey man sounds like a tough spot- it think the most important thing is that she has you as a friend. That knowledge can be one of the best resources for someone to never go over the edge, even if the small self harm mechanisms do lead to more severe forms. I think its great you research outside academic sources to see if there are scientific evidence to help demystify why people do this when we care about them and they don't want to actually die. As a laymen, i dont have the most educated answer but from personal experience of friends i did have someone give me some answers in how they stopped self harming themselves. What happens when you self harm, similar to a manic episode, its not your normal personality or behavior. This means there's an unnatural flow of blood, energy and the dopamine/endorphins you wisely researched that make this a manic situation. The best thing to do when she feels like this is to IMMEDIATELY find a external behavior to break this cycle. One way is a physical break, this could be, drink 20 ounces of water and do 10 push-ups or go outside and just walk for ten minutes. Another is a creative or artistic break which could be drawing,blogging about how they feel, writing or painting or anything that can break the mental flow of self harming. Another could be calling a person and having them talk them through it. Obviously this last one places a lot of pressure on a friend who could inadvertently miss a call or have their phone off which isn't fair for the friend but it can be a suitable solution. I know this wont be found in some awesome scientific journal, but sometimes the hardest situations require basic approaches and not some magical scientific formula. Hope this helps!

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