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Self-harm usually phases out

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A study following young people who self-harm from teenage years to adulthood has been released in The Lancet. The report shows that about 1 in 12 young people self-harm, most of them girls. They found that 90% of these individuals resolve their self-harm issues spontaneously, while 10% continue into adulthood.

Self-harm here refers to the most common types of cutting or burning and other less seen methods like poisoning, overdose and self-battery. Self-harm is one of the most significant indicators of suicide risk among youth and it’s becoming a global health problem especially for young women ages 15 to 24. Rates increase each year.

For this study, from 1992 through 2008, researchers assessed participants from Victoria, Australia with an average age of 15 at the beginning of the study. They were 29 at the end of the study in 2008. Data was collected at nine different times over those years.

Early on, 149 or 8% of the 1,802 participants reported that they self-harmed. Girls had a 60% higher risk of engaging in the behavior than boys. By the age of 29, fewer than 1% of the participants were self-harming.

“Our findings suggest that most adolescent self-harming behavior resolves spontaneously. However, young people who self-harm often have mental health problems that might not resolve without treatment, as evident in the strong relation detected between adolescent anxiety and depression and an increased risk of self-harm in young adulthood,” the report stated.

The results should give some relief to parents of kids who self-harm. Still, early intervention should sought and healthy interaction with kids needs to be maintained.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, The Lancet

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