When I watch needle injections on Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok I get an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR). This causes me to hurt myself sometimes with pens and tacks. Is it sterile? Should I stop?

Thank you for your question. ASMR is an autonomous sensory meridian response that leads to a tingling sensation in the crown of the head, caused by a range of audio-visual triggers, such as needle injections. Some people may find watching ASMR videos to be an outlet for stress relief, relaxation, and/or to help them fall asleep. ASMR videos are posted across sites like YouTube and cater to different sites and sounds of ASMR.

It sounds like you’re concerned about the things you’ve been doing outside of just watching these videos, such as when you’ve used different objects to hurt yourself. You’ve already noted some concerns you have about it, including that it may not be sterile. It’s great that you’ve been able to recognize this. It is a very valid concern, since the things you’re using to hurt yourself in fact may not be clean, sterile, or safe. Self-harm (when someone causes purposeful harm to themselves) can be a dangerous and difficult to stop, especially if you are doing it to help yourself cope with a problem.

It may be helpful to think about how you’re feeling before you hurt yourself, to start to identify other ways you may be able to cope. For example, are you feeling sad? Angry? Disconnected? Maybe something else completely? Whether you can identify the “Why” or not, ask for help! Reach out to a trusted adult– such as a parent, teacher, health care provider, or a therapist.