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Bipolar Disorder and the Result of Self-Injury

Aug 17, 2007
Bipolar disorder is a mental condition that can result in self-mutilation or self-injury. The mere thought is alarming enough but the reality is even more so since this disease can result in suicide.

Since bipolar disorder affects the normal functions of the brain, the patient can perform uncontrollable acts that are often considered as unhealthy or even fatal. This is due to the episodes of mania and depression which can lead the patient to react strongly over the simplest of things.

Sadness that is caused by disappointments can lead to self-mutilation. A patient that feels guilt over something can cause him or her to blame themselves. This often leads to self-punishment that usually comes in the form of self-injury.

Here are some of the most common acts of self-injury related to bipolar disorder:

Cutting of the Sufferer's Own Skin

This often happens in an episode of severe depression, and there are many reasons why the patient does this. One is the feeling of guilt over a certain event that happened recently or even years back. A breakup with a boyfriend or a girlfriend perhaps, or, if the stress is so intense then the person's only resort is to divert it into physical pain. Another reason could be for mere pleasure. The episode of mania causes the patient to have excessive energy and forcing it out through self-injury is one way to prove it.

Meanwhile, cutting can also be recognized as a plea for help. Since a patient with bipolar disorder is often neglected and left unnoticed, he or she creates a venue where other people can notice him or her, this time through self-injury.

Inappropriate Clothing

Another way to punish one self is by wearing inappropriate clothing for a particular season or climate. One reason why a patient wears thick clothing during warm weather is to conceal an object or possible even just themselves, shielding them from the world.

Body Piercing & Tattoos

In some cultures, piercing and tattooing are forms of spiritual conversion. Other people on the other hand consider these acts as self-expression. While these reasons are widely acceptable to many, piercing and tattooing can still be considered as ways of injuring one's self. Sometimes, these self-mutilations (others call it transformation) become so addictive and so uncontrollable that they become two entirely different problems.

Reenactment of a Previously Painful Experience

A patient with one or more painful experiences of abuse who is suffering from bipolar disorder can reenact those times if they remain unprocessed or untreated. There are two possible reasons why a person does this: one is to let others know that they are still hurting, and the other is to let him or her experience the pain all over again as a gesture of guilt and unforgiveness.

As was mentioned earlier, these acts are clear manifestations of the intention to harm and can lead to suicide. Recognizing these acts, therefore, can save the patient's life. If you know someone who is depressed and does this, carefully approach the patient and suggest that he or she should consult a psychiatrist. If in case you are the one who is practicing these acts, recognize your condition and seek psychological treatment immediately.
About the Author
Did you know 16% of the world's population suffer from depression? Are you a sufferer? The author of this article, Matthew OConnor runs a site dedicated to the latest news and developments in depression treatments, particularly the crucial topic of bipolar disorder self injury.
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