Is Self-Destructive Behavior a Disorder?

Self-destructive behavior is a type of action that can cause harm to an individual. It can be deliberate and planned, or it can be subconscious and impulsive. It is often associated with emotional dysregulation, which can be caused by brain injury, early childhood trauma, or a variety of psychiatric disorders and mental illnesses. Self-destructive behavior can have a range of physical and mental health effects, including long-term drug abuse, depression, anxiety, poor hygiene, bruising and scarring, substance abuse, financial hardship, unemployment, deteriorating health, divorce or loss of a relationship, hypersensitivity or emotional numbness.

Studies have been conducted that confirm that self-destructive behavior is part of certain disorders. However, there is no solid evidence that self-destructive behavior exists in people without underlying dysfunction or psychological diagnoses. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps people challenge maladaptive thinking patterns and replace them with constructive ones, resulting in more positive emotions and behaviors. Future publications will provide further explanations consistent with research on why certain behaviors may seem impossible to resist, and will discuss methods that can help you overcome these behaviors and move toward a life that feels more satisfying. The question of what causes self-destructive behavior is infinitely complex.

Being depressed or having a depressed mood can put people at risk for self-sabotaging behaviors, such as substance use and suicide attempts. It is important to recognize the signs of self-destructive behavior in order to seek help from a mental health professional.