Why do People Self Destruct?
It can be very painful to watch someone you care about self destruct. It can also make you feel very desperate and powerless to stop the harmful behavior. Witnessing someone you love self destruct will always leave you with more questions than answers as their behavior seems like pure senselessness to you. However, you are not alone, and neither is the self destructive person. Self destruction is a common expression of a person’s mental health problems that outwardly take the shape of deliberately ruining one’s own life. Though it is entirely needless, the self destructive person is acting out in response to very real stimuli that their mental health problems thrust upon them.
If their mental health problems are accurately diagnosed, a self destructive person’s negative tendencies can be managed. This requires the person to want to manage their self destructive tendencies as many people do not grasp how badly they need to manage them. Common mental health diagnosis’ that can spawn self destructive behaviors are depression and bipolar disorder. Mood altering disorders of any kind can initiate self destructive behaviors, but particularly ones that involve depressive effects on moods. These mental problems promote despair within the individual as well as the tendency to want to throw in the towel and give up before even trying. This sense of despair and self deprecation is what leads to self destructive behaviors.
Sometimes mental health problems go undiagnosed, either because the person and their loved ones have learned how to function with them or because they simply did not know to seek a diagnosis. Self destructive behaviors will ensue just as persistently in people with undiagnosed mental disorders as those who are diagnosed, sometimes even more so. Without a diagnosis, self destructive behavior may become a way of life for the individual, putting them at greater risk of suffering the consequences of self destructive behavior. If someone in your life is showing signs of self destructive behavior in the form of substance abuse, harming themselves or simply giving up on life, their well being may depend on your encouragement to seek help. Do not stay silent. Intervene if you must.