What Are the Different Types of Self-Harm?

Self-harm (also known as self-injury or self-mutilation) does not come in a singular, one-size-fits-all method. People engage in all types of self-harm, which is why it’s important to understand these different methods.


Cutting refers to using a sharp object like a knife, scissors, or razor blade to puncture the skin. People often cut on their arms, legs, or stomach.


Burning refers to burning oneself with fire or other chemicals. People may use candlesticks, matches, candles, or lit cigarettes to burn themselves.

Head or Body Banging

Head banging refers to hitting one’s head repeatedly against a hard surface, such as a wall or table. Body banging can mean punching inanimate objects like a wall to hurt oneself, or slamming one’s entire body against something.

Hair Pulling

Some people may engage in hair pulling to hurt themselves. It should be noted that this method is not the same as trichotillomania (a compulsive disorder associated with recurrent urges to pull hair). When hair pulling is done with the primary intention of hurting oneself, it is considered self-harm.

Intentional Restriction

Any form of deliberate deprivation—such as restricting food, voluntarily wearing light clothing in freezing temperatures, or avoiding drinking water when thirsty—can be a form of self-harm. 

Understanding the Types of Self-Harm

There are many types of self-harm, some of which are apparent and others which are more covert and insidious. That said, help and recovery are possible. If you or someone you love is struggling, it’s crucial to reach out for support. Contact us today.

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  1. What is Trichotillomania? A Closer Look at Hair-Pulling Disorder. (2018, February 13). Psycom.Net - Mental Health Treatment Resource Since 1986. https://www.psycom.net/what-is-trichotillomania/#:~:text=Trichotillomania%20(pronounced%20trik%2Do%2D,of%20the%20body%2C%20despite%20repeated