We all experience difficult times when we feel overwhelmed by feelings like stress, anger, frustration, and sadness. However, it can be a challenge for many to find ways to cope with these feelings healthily. People who suffer from substance use or mental health disorders can especially struggle to utilize appropriate coping mechanisms. Unfortunately, turning to self-harm or self-injurious behaviors often feels like the only release for millions of teens and young adults.
If you or a loved one has been intentionally causing self-harm, such as cutting, it is critical to seek help from a self-harm treatment program as soon as possible. The mental health professionals at Harmony Hills are available to help you get to the root of mental health disorders and get on the road to recovery by calling 855.494.0357.
What Defines Self-Harm?
Simply put, self-harm occurs when individuals intentionally cause injury to themselves. Cutting is the most common form of self-harm, but it can go far beyond that. Following are other examples of self-injurious behaviors:
- Picking at skin or scabs
- Pulling out hair
- Ingesting dangerous substances
- Hitting or punching
Essentially, putting yourself in unhealthy physical, mental, and emotional situations to get hurt is considered self-harm. To that degree, it can be regarded as self-harm to stay in toxic relationships or to abuse drugs or alcohol to an extreme degree.
Since cutting is the most common form of self-harm, it bears being looked at more closely. First, it is essential to point out that people are not trying to commit suicide if they are cutting. Cutting is generally done in isolation on parts of the body that can be hidden by clothing. Objects used for cutting are often fingernails, paperclips, thumbtacks, scissors, or other small sharp household objects that do not draw attention.
What Causes People to Engage in Self-Harm?
The reasons that people engage in practices of self-harm are as unique and complicated as the people themselves. Commonly, individuals who self-harm have low self-esteem or a low sense of self-worth. Self-harm can be viewed as a physical manifestation of inner psychological distress. Some widely reported reasons for engaging in self-harm are to find a release from the pain associated with:
- Physical abuse or neglect
- Sexual abuse
- Inability to verbally express oneself
- Feelings of self-hate
In most cases, practicing self-harm is an attempt to gain a sense of control. While self-harm can affect people of all ages, it usually begins in the teen and early adult years. Adolescence is a difficult and often pressure-filled time. Without the proper coping skills or support systems, many teens rely on self-harm as a release. Studies indicate that teenagers who have friends that engage in self-harm are more likely to do it themselves. Contrary to popular belief, self-harm is much more than “attention-seeking” behavior and usually indicates a more serious mental health issue.
3 Ways to Heal from Self-Harm
For individuals who engage in self-harm practices, the thought of stopping can be terrifying because this has become their trusted form of expression. Without healthy coping mechanisms, these individuals know few other ways to feel in control of their lives, which is why participation in a self-harm treatment program is so vital for healthy recovery. Here are three examples of ways you will learn to heal from self-harm at Harmony Hills:
- Learn to recognize what happens before, during, and after you engage in self-harm practices to identify triggers and patterns.
- Gain insight into the reasons you practice self-harm and learn healthier coping mechanisms.
- Receive therapy to process the thoughts, feelings, and experiences that contribute to self-harm.
Let Harmony Hills Help End the Cycle of Self-Harm
The connection between self-harm and substance use and mental health disorders is strong. Studies show that individuals who suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, and eating disorders are far more likely to engage in self-harm. Further, addiction often leads to risk-taking behaviors that include self-harm. Harmony Hills’ experienced and compassionate staff can help you or a loved one get to the root causes of self-injurious behaviors and learn new ways to cope with life’s stressful times. Call us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.