A (temporary) sense of control
In the short term
In the short term, self-injury has a direct effect. When damage is inflicted to the body and the self-injury ends, the body goes into survival mode, which causes a mixed release of endorphins and adrenaline. This generates a temporary reduction of difficult emotions.
In that moment, the pain of self-injury suppresses the emotional pain and negative thoughts, which gives a feeling of peace and control. However, this passes very quickly.
In the long term
In the longer term, self-injury leads to multiple negative feelings, such as guilt, being ashamed of the scars, feeling frustrated and rejected. There is also a risk of habituation. This means that someone has to self-injure more severely time and time again to get the same effect. It is possible that a form of addiction to the behaviour arises.
Fear but also shame for the behaviour and scars cause many young people to hide their self-injuries and keep them a secret. In more than half of the students who self-injure, no one is aware of the difficulties, which causes the students to feel very lonely.