Five Ways You’re Self Harming Before You Pick Up the Razor.

Self-harm is painted as a particular portrait of sketched lines across arms, and scars that don’t heal, but there are other ways to self-harm that aren’t as openly discussed. The Oxford Dictionary defines self-harm as, the deliberate injury to oneself, typically as a manifestation of a psychological or psychiatric disorder. The key word there being deliberate. Everyone has unhealthy habits, but if the intention is to hurt yourself, it then becomes a type of self-harm.

So how do we stop these dangerous habits?  The first step to combating them is materializing them, changing the label from bad habits to things that damage. To help this, below are listed five ways that you’re self-harming before you pick up the razor.

Sleep Deprivation

A common symptom of depression can be oversleeping, but another sign can be willful insomnia. When you stay awake, because you believe you don’t deserve rest, or you feel a compulsion to keep yourself up, it becomes an act of self-harm.

Lack of sleep can cause moodiness, poor concentration, poor memory, worsened symptoms of depression, hallucinations, and even death.

 Excessive Exercise

Self-harm can be used to force feeling when everything feels numb. That’s one of the reasons some people start cutting. It’s also one of the reasons people leave the razor and start running. In the wise words of Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, “exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy,” but when there is no other way to feel content in your life, endorphins can become addictions.

Over-exercising can cause problems in the heart and blood vessel, bone problems, arrhythmia, and weaken the immune system. Doctors recommend that you limit exercise to an hour a day unless you are an athlete and have a regiment that specifies otherwise.

Over or undereating

While over and undereating are signs of eating disorders, they can go hand and hand with self-harm. Forcing yourself to eat when you don’t want to, or not eating enough is as dangerous as cutting yourself, and can stem from the same issues

Binge eating can cause stress, heart disease, pain in the back and joints, and worsened symptoms of depression. Undereating can cause extreme weight loss, elevated liver enzymes, fatigue, dizziness, and even death.


Whether they’re an introvert or an extrovert, everyone needs some form of human interaction. Forcing yourself to be alone, and missing opportunities, because you can’t feel anything or you think you don’t deserve to have fun, is destructive.

Studies have shown that prolonged isolation can raise blood pressure and make you more susceptible to diseases. It can cause headaches, dizziness, and sweat. In extreme cases, people who have undergone absurd amounts of solitary confinement were found to grow severely anxious and even hallucinate. In one study, the effects of the isolation stayed present even after they were released.

Triggering yourself

Triggers are defined as things that, “’re-trigger’ trauma in the form of flashbacks or overwhelming feelings of sadness, anxiety, or panic.” It is best to avoid your triggers whenever possible.

However, some people use their triggers as a form of self-harm, purposefully seeking out things that will affect them adversely. Everyone’s triggers and effects of said triggers are different, but no one should seek them out. Forcing yourself to experience symptoms that will hurt you is never okay.

Insomnia, binge eating, etcetera can all be symptoms of other disorders or a form of self-harm. It becomes self-harm when it’s willful and conscious way to feel, harm, or punish yourself.

If you are experiencing any of the above urges, please talk to a loved one, licensed professional, or helpline. No one deserves to be in pain no matter what your self-harming impulses are telling you. We at Psych2Go urge you to seek help, because it will get better. I know that phrase tends to sound like a broken record, but one day it might be your favorite song, and you should be around to hear it.

Helpful Resources


1-800-DON’T-CUT and 1-800-334-HELP

1-800-334-HELP is a 24-hour service for a number of things.


Eating Disorders:


Boys Town National Hotline 1-800-448-3000.

Text CONNECT to 741741 for PTSD episodes. They are also on call 24-hours.


1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.


Department of Health & Human Services. “Sleep Deprivation.” Better Health Channel, Department of Health & Human Services, 30 June 2014,

“Symptoms.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA,

Department of Health & Human Services. “Sleep Deprivation.” Better Health Channel, Department of Health & Human Services, 30 June 2014,

“Sleep Deprivation As A Form Of Self-Harm…?” My PTSD Forum,

“The Dangers of Too Much Exercise: There’s a Limit to How Much Good Running Can Do.” Time, Time,

Team, Heart and Vascular. “Can Too Much Extreme Exercise Damage Your Heart?” Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic, 15 July 2015,

About the authorStar LaBrancheStar LaBrancheMore posts from authorRecent posts Author Recent Posts Why Do I Want to Binge Eat When Good Things Happen? May 31, 2016 . “Binge Eating Disorder and Self-Harm.” HealthyPlace, 10 Mar. 2016,

“Anorexia Symptoms and Effects.” Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center,

“Bulimia Nervosa.” Bulimia Nervosa: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment, and Self-Help,

Bond, Michael. “Future – How Extreme Isolation Warps the Mind.” BBC, BBC, 14 May 2014,

“Department of Applied Psychology.” Effects of Solitary Confinement on the Well Being of Prison Inmates – Applied Psychology OPUS – NYU Steinhardt,

“The Psychology of Triggers and How They Affect Mental Health.” Therapy Blog, 28 Aug. 2015,


Leave your vote

7 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 9

Upvotes: 8

Upvotes percentage: 88.888889%

Downvotes: 1

Downvotes percentage: 11.111111%

Related Articles


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.

Hey there!

Forgot password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot your password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.


Processing files…

Skip to toolbar