Self-Destructive Behavior

Self-destructive behavior includes behaviors and attitudes that can harm, injure, or be destructive to oneself. Some examples of self-destructive behavior are:

  • Taking an overdose of pills.

  • Hurting yourself (self-injury behavior). This includes cutting, burning, or otherwise injuring yourself to release tension or as a misguided attempt to lessen emotional pain.

  • Getting into fights.

  • Purposely getting into accidents.

  • Staying in an emotionally or physically abusive relationship.

  • Shopping sprees, reckless spending, or gambling that causes you to go into debt.

  • Any type of addictive behavior. This includes acting out sexually, shoplifting, and other behaviors.

  • Binge eating and other eating disorders.

  • Not being able to set healthy limits. This may include depriving yourself of proper rest and nutrition in order to meet the demands of others.

The signs and symptoms above are serious forms of self-destructive behavior. These behaviors are commonly seen in people with clinical depression and low self-esteem.

See your doctor or counselor to help you recognize the source of your problems. They can help you sort out your feelings and get the help you need. You also need to avoid alcohol and drugs. If your behavior is out of control and your life is in danger, call:

  • The police.

  • Your doctor.

  • Your local emergency department (911 in the U.S.).