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What Is the Connection between Self-Harm and Depression?

Esther Ejim
Updated May 17, 2024
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The relationship between self-harm and depression is the fact that self-harm is often an end product of depression. That is say that those who are depressed may use self-harm as a sort of coping mechanism or outlet for emotions they have no control over. Depression is a physiological disorder with varying degrees of intensity or severity ranging from mild to clinical. Often the more severe the depression, the higher the tendency to self-mutilate or self-harm. Also, the severity of the self-inflicted harm also has a direct correlation with the level of the depression, ranging from minor scratches to serious infliction of wounds or even suicide attempts.

Self-harm and depression are linked by the manner in which manifestations of depression in people of different ages and cultures lead to incidents of self-harm. The fact that feelings of depression in people from diverse backgrounds, nationalities and age groups often cause them to engage in self-abuse points to the fact that depression is a link between self-harm and depression. Now and then, people may experience feelings of depression due to events in their lives. Normally, they recover from such feelings and move on with no harm. Since lengthy or frequent depression is a psychological disorder that requires treatment, people who suffer from frequent bouts of depression may not be able to recover from incidents of depression without some form of therapy.

When this is the case, such people may require treatment to help them recover from the depression. This also shows a link between self-harm and depression, because when people do not have any outlet for the emotions bottled up inside, they may resort to self-harm as an outlet. One of the ways to break the link between self-harm and depression is through the administration of therapy in which the depressed individual will be encouraged to find other outlets for addressing the depression rather than engaging in self-harm.

Episodes or bouts of depression may be compounded by incidences of stress. For instance, a child who is constantly bullied at school will be under an enormous amount of stress as a result of the abuse. This stress may be followed by periods of depression resulting from the stress of dealing with the bullies. One of the ways in which such children try to deal with depression is through self-harm, which may escalate to suicide attempts if the root cause of the depression is not addressed. This also helps to further illustrate the relationship between self-harm and depression.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Esther Ejim
By Esther Ejim , Former Writer
Esther Ejim, a visionary leader and humanitarian, uses her writing to promote positive change. As the founder and executive director of a charitable organization, she actively encourages the well-being of vulnerable populations through her compelling storytelling. Esther's writing draws from her diverse leadership roles, business experiences, and educational background, helping her to create impactful content.

Discussion Comments

By anon242405 — On Jan 23, 2012

Would it be fair to speculate that depression itself is a means of self-harm to the psyche? For those who won't, don't, or can't bring themselves to take direct action to harm their bodies, isn't perpetuating depression just another way of harming themselves which can remain invisible to others?

Physical self-harm is a way of seeking relief, but perpetuating psychological self-harm through depression may be a failsafe to achieve the relief they seek without bodily mutilation in a less noticeable, yet more effective way.

Dare to be happy in any way, instead of depressed?

Esther Ejim

Esther Ejim

Former Writer

Esther Ejim, a visionary leader and humanitarian, uses her writing to promote positive change. As the founder and...
Learn more
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