Does scratching count as self harm if I don't bleed?

277 Answers
Last Updated: 01/07/2019 at 4:16pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Australia
Moderated by

Catherine Davis, Bachelor of Community Education, Major: Counselling. Founder & owner of Mental Stress Buster Facilitation Service, Author & creator of, 'Mental Stress Buster' a do it yourself mental stress release process.

Therapist

I'm Cassie. I've been a successful therapist for over 10 years. I aim to help you explore your problem so you gain insights you need to constructively solve it on your own.

Top Rated Answers
adamabinta - Expert in Self-Harm
April 21st, 2015 12:39am
In clinical psychology, an act is considered self-harm if (a) the person deliberately inflicts tissue damage to his/her own body, and (b) the action is used as a coping mechanism to regulate either negative intrapersonal (anger, dysphoria, feelings of numbness or dissociation, etc.) or interpersonal experiences (seeking attention or comfort, or trying to keep others at a distance). Under this definition, many acts can be considered self-harm, not simply cutting or scratching until blood is drawn, but also scratches that simply leave a mark, pinching, hitting, burning, etc. It's not as much about what you do but why you do it, that will define whether the behaviour is self-harm (referred to as "non-suicidal self-injury" in clinical and research settings).
JordanBlake
September 12th, 2015 8:18am
Self harm is defined as anything you do, physical or emotional, that intentionally causes you harm. And, yes, scratches are harming yourself. I do NOT vouch for self harming, but I do vouch for other neutral coping skills for depression and anxiety. Things like holding an ice cube in your hand can simulate the same feeling you get from self harm. And, I've drawn cool designs on my arms in the past to keep myself from cutting. There are tons of neutral and positive coping skills to try, and cutting is not one of them.
DipityEnigma
May 10th, 2015 9:16am
Self-harm is anything that causes you harm. Most people think of making yourself bleed and don't really take you seriously when you say you hit yourself or you scratch yourself. It doesn't have to leave a permanent mark. If you ask any psychologist, they will tell you that self-harm is exactly that; harming yourself. If you're in doubt, make sure you see a competent doctor. I've had some that come from the older generation and aren't up to date with new methods, issues and scientific findings. If you are indeed scratching yourself on a daily basis, I would strongly urge you to see a professional for some advice. Don't worry, they very rarely lock people away for self harming and they can't force you to take drugs either. That's your choice. I know because I've been told all this by a professional myself. Hope this helps. =)
080901ldubs
September 9th, 2015 8:24pm
Yes it does because you are deliberately hurting yourself. Please don't selfharm. Message me if you need to chat xxx
Anonymous
December 19th, 2015 7:45am
Self harm is just what it sounds like, and scratching purposely, even if it doesn't do much damage, is still harming yourself. Self harm includes cutting, burning, hair pulling and/or eating, picking (to pick at your skin or scabs), and hitting yourself. The only way I wouldn't consider what you do as self harm is it you only do it when you're scratching an itch. I started scratching when I was 11 and which led me to self-harm. I recommend you to stop before it becomes very serious. Take care of yourself, you are beautiful
Anonymous
September 5th, 2015 9:28am
Yes, I believe it does count as self harm, as you are still hurting yourself even if you don't bleed.
Ginieboops
September 27th, 2015 3:32pm
Yes, it diffidently counts; any intended harm to yourself is self harm. Burning, punching, pinching, scratching or putting yourself in harmful situation and subjecting youse of to unhealthy habitu├ęs with the intention of deteriorating yourself is self harm.
Teddy522
June 12th, 2017 1:10am
Self harm can take place in many forms, it doesn`t have to just be cutting or bleeding. It can be bruising, burning, self-neglect, scratching and many other things.
Anonymous
December 19th, 2015 8:23pm
In my personal experience I think it does. Unless that scratching came about as an unexpected accident such as perhaps an accidental scratch from a sharp tool or friend or animal then it is self harm. Many people, myself inclusive in the beginning used to think that scratches that didn't draw blood were not self harm, it was just something to do to distract myself. But then I realized that the thoughts that led me to do that were not healthy, surely one does not scratch themselves for injury as though they were scratching a mere itch. Its a way to feel a different pain from what is aching in our sub-conscious although it doesn't led to the same scars as those that bleed. Talk to someone, maybe even on here - Let it out and free yourself from what's anchoring you towards self harm
Anonymous
December 20th, 2015 9:35pm
I used to scratch all the time when I got anxious, it soon turned into cutting myself, it does count, but not to the degree that most doctors worry about. Try and find what triggers scratching and find something else to do with your hands during the trigger.
onedirection1213
December 31st, 2015 7:22pm
Yes it still counts,you're causing harm to your body,whether it bleeds or not.......................
friendlyUnicorn16
January 8th, 2016 6:53pm
Since you're doing it on purpose and you're probably hurting your body with a reason, it does count.
LucyInTheSky
January 16th, 2015 7:17am
I am by no means a professional, or know what the definite psychological definition of self-harm. Although, I believe that self-harm to me means anything that causing a person harm. This does not have to be physical, I believe that self-harm can also be emotional.
maskedanonymous
September 18th, 2015 2:53pm
Yes. It is counted as self harm. Any form or way that you could hurt yourself, intentionally, is self harm. It doesn't really matter whether you bleed or you don't.
beautifulParadise07
May 31st, 2015 10:29am
Yes. When you speak of the word SELF HARM, it means doing things that may not be helpful or doing things that re bound to hurt your body and yourself. Even though you did not bleed, still it is a way of harming yourself. It is a negative act to be done in your body.
Stephz
April 5th, 2015 8:50am
Yes it does. Self harm is harming your body purposely, it doesn't have to bleed or not. People hit themselves and punch walls and they don't bleed and that's still self harm and so is scratching
MrsBrownEyes
June 6th, 2015 4:03pm
Yes, everything bad you do to yourself is titled as self harm. Every kind of injury you do to yourself. Please don't hurt yourself, darling. I'm here for you.
Dee95
March 16th, 2016 3:24am
If you're scratching you meaning to cause yourself physical pain then yes it still counts. Burning is considered self harming and that doesn't make you bleed. Doing anything to yourself by PURPOSELY causing physical pain is considered self harming, even if you aren't bleeding.
cherishedJet13
August 21st, 2015 5:31am
To be honest, any way of hurting yourself on purpose is self harm. No matter if it's scratching, burning, hair pulling, cutting, picking at scabs, just really any kind of harm you inflict on yourself.
ThalIsHere
September 3rd, 2015 7:51am
The point of self-harm is not bleeding or bruising yourself... the whole idea is about hurting yourself. I think it does count, the fact that you need to feel pain... You're beautiful, keep that in mind.
MyChemicalRobinV2
September 10th, 2015 6:03pm
Yes, it does dear. I'm sorry, I used to scratch all the time. Try rubbing with your knuckles instead.
Anonymous
March 20th, 2016 8:50am
If you trying to harm yourself in any way, bleeding or not, yes it is self harm. Please talk to any of us to seek help.
Nicobaka
April 11th, 2015 5:55pm
if the end result is to cause harm to your self, it doesn't matter whether you bleed or not. It is considered self harm
Anonymous
August 20th, 2015 5:12am
It can become self harm because of wanting to get that feeling of the first time scratching and then it gets worse. If you scratch and think about self harm then it isn't safe.
ListensBecauseNooneElseDid26
September 4th, 2015 2:28am
I feel as though it depends... Like what us makong you scratch? What effect does it have on you ? How do you feel when do it ?.... But yes it can be a form of self harm. At least I believe so.
Anonymous
September 15th, 2015 2:33am
If you're causing yourself any sort of pain, it is considered self-harm. It might not seem like it's actually harming but by scratching you opening the door to doing worse to yourself.
weallfall
September 17th, 2015 2:04am
To me, scratching does count as self harm because is a way of relieving stress (using your body) in a way not accepted as natural. The skin gets damaged by doing it no matter that goes unnoticed.
UrHelper
September 19th, 2015 4:51pm
Yes it counts if you did that intentionally. It means that you tries to do self harm. But if your intention was not harming yourself then it's not.
LuminousMeadow
October 22nd, 2015 11:22pm
Scratching can be a form of self-harm even if you don't bleed. Any time you deliberately harm yourself as a way to cope with emotional pain is considered self-harm.
Anonymous
October 23rd, 2015 6:59pm
If you're doing it on purpose (to harm yourself) it still counts as self harm, even if you don't bleed.