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Myth: BFRBs are considered self-harm.

Although BFRBs can cause damage to the body, the goal is quite different than that of people who engage in self-harming behaviors. Self-harm (cutting, scratching, burning, etc.) is done with the goal of intentional harm to one’s body in an attempt to reduce the sensation of emotional pain or to manifest physical pain to drown out emotional pain. Alternately, BFRB behaviors are, for many people, self-regulating and serve some internal need. Many people who engage in BFRBs report that they are pleasurable, that they help them in some way, or that they help them to achieve some goal (symmetry or smoothness). When a person engages in their BFRB, physical damage is created as a result of their behavior but is an unintentional result of their repetitive behavior.

BFRBs are not self-harm. BFRBs are not caused by trauma.