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Self-Harm & Alternatives

PTSD and self-injury (also called deliberate self-harm), such as cutting and burning, frequently co-occur. Deliberate self-harm has been defined as the deliberate and direct destruction or alteration of body tissue without conscious suicidal intent, but resulting in injury severe enough for tissue damage to occur.

Basically, deliberate self-harm means doing something to cause immediate physical harm to yourself, but not for the purpose of ending your life.

Very Well: Learn What PTSD Self-Mutilation Is and Why It Happens

The rates of self-harm widely vary, depending on how researchers pose their questions about it.

It is estimated that in the general public, 2-6 percent engage in self-harm at some point in their lives. Among students, the rates are higher, ranging from 13-35 percent.

Rates of self-harm are also higher among those in treatment for mental health problems. Those in treatment who have a diagnosis of PTSD are more likely to engage in self-harm than those without PTSD.

Alternatives to Self-Harm: Info & References

US Department of Veteran Affairs: Self-Harm and Trauma

Adolescent Self Injury Foundation: 146 Things To Do Besides Self Harm

Healthy Place: Self-Injury Information, Resources & Support

Just Ask Skinny Boy: Specific Self-Harm Alternatives

WikiHow: How to Communicate Feelings Without Self-Harm

The Self-Soothe Kit

Designed to calm you down whenever you're upset or triggered. Put things in it that relax you. Here's an example of a self-soothe kit:


Anything that relaxes you or helps calm you down goes in the kit, such as music, a hobby, art, or calming herbs such as lavender or chamomile. Whenever you're triggered or upset, take a deep breath, and try a few things in the kit.

Choose Recovery: Alternatives and Distractions

Worksheets and Info Regarding Self-Harm & Alternatives

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