Throughout the United States, millions of teens and young adults engage in acts of non-suicidal self-harm. The act of self-harming does not usually have a single cause. Instead, it is a maladaptive coping with overwhelming emotional pain, anger, frustration, or sadness. Self-harm is usually a symptom of an underlying mental health disorder and is commonly associated with eating disorders, dissociative disorders, borderline personality disorder, and depression. If you or a loved one is practicing self-harm, help is available through Harmony Hills’ self-harm treatment program. For more information, contact us at 855.494.0357
Who Is Most at Risk for Engaging in Self-Harm?
Unfortunately, children and adolescents who are experiencing depression are the most likely to practice self-harm. Young people often do not have the tools to manage complex emotions in healthy ways and can turn to self-harm practices to feel a temporary sense of relief. The relief is only temporary because the underlying issues remain. Following self-harm, individuals usually experience feelings of grief and shame, which contribute to their emotional suffering. All of this quickly develops into a harmful cycle that feeds on itself.
Adolescence is a difficult time fraught with emotional ups and downs. Young people suffering from clinical depression may not understand the seriousness of what they are experiencing and may not reach out for help. Besides depression, other risk factors for self-harm can include:
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Unsupportive or unstable home environments
- Issues with sexual identity
- Other unaddressed mental health disorders
Research indicates that adolescents who have a friend who engages in self-harm are at higher risk of engaging in the practice. For those who identify as women, cutting is the most common form of self-harm, whereas those who identify as men are more likely to bruise themselves or attempt to get others to hurt them. Those who self-harm are also more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Being intoxicated or high while performing acts of self-harm dramatically increases the potential for unintentionally causing severe injury.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Self-Harm
Knowing what to look out for will help determine if someone needs help as soon and quickly as possible. Some indicators of self-harm include:
- Sudden mood and behavior changes
- Becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Loss of interest in activities
- New or worsening substance abuse
- Lack of self-care or hygiene causing changes to appearance
- Depression, chronic sadness, or crying
- Signs of self-harm like cuts, bruises, or burns
- Sharp or otherwise hazardous items stashed in the bedroom, purse, etc
- Increasingly risky actions or behaviors
- Giving their belongings away or throwing things out
- Openly talking about negative thoughts and feelings
- Openly talking about death or suicide
- Threatening suicide
Self-harm is usually a symptom of a mental health disorder. It can be terrifying to face something like this with a loved one, but help is available. It starts with understanding the root cause of self-injurious behavior.
The Link Between Depression and Self-Harm
Major depression is often characterized by irritability, feelings of worthlessness, anger, an inability to feel pleasure, and a lack of emotional depth. These are all symptoms that can drive a vulnerable person to engage in self-harm. Intense feelings of anger and pain often precipitate the urge to self-harm. The inflicted pain releases endorphins that provide temporary relief from these feelings. In some cases, focusing on the physical pain of the injury is what alleviates the emotional pain. When depression causes anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, self-harm is used to feel something other than numbness.
When individuals suffer from depression or other mental health conditions, their ability to express themselves is compromised by their inability to understand their thoughts and feelings. They may resort to self-harm for any of the following reasons:
- As punishment for perceived faults
- As a release from emotional distress
- To find relief from anxiety
- A distraction from inner turmoil
- To communicate their pain to the outside world
- To feel control over their body, their feelings, or an external situation
At Harmony Hills, we provide a wide range of mental health treatment programs to effectively treat the underlying mental health conditions that cause self-injurious behaviors.
How to Find Treatment Centers for Depression and Self-Harm
Finding the right treatment center for self-harm and depression is crucial. It is essential to choose a facility that specializes in treating both disorders simultaneously, as each condition can feed into the other. Harmony Hills offers a comprehensive self-harm treatment program that addresses the underlying mental health issues while providing evidence-based therapy approaches to help individuals overcome self-injury behaviors.
Some things to look for in treatment centers for self-harm include:
- A multidisciplinary team of mental health professionals with experience in treating self-harm and depression.
- Evidence-based therapy approaches such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and trauma-focused therapy.
- Individualized treatment plans are tailored to each individual’s unique needs and challenges.
- Support for co-occurring disorders, such as self-harm, is often linked to other mental health conditions.
- A focus on developing healthy coping mechanisms and skills to manage overwhelming emotions.
- Aftercare support and resources for continued recovery after treatment.
At Harmony Hills, we understand the complexity of self-injury behaviors and depression. Our team of experienced professionals provides compassionate care while using evidence-based approaches to help individuals overcome these challenges and lead fulfilling lives.
How Harmony Hills Treats Depression and Self-Harm
When you choose Harmony Hills for our self-harm treatment program or depression treatment program, some of the therapies available to you include:
Individual therapy program
If you or a loved one engages in self-harm as the result of depression or another mental health condition, Harmony Hills is an excellent choice for getting the treatment to help heal. Our treatment team will take the time to get to know you and help identify your individual treatment needs. We offer various holistic and evidence-based therapies designed to help you overcome maladaptive thinking and behavior patterns and ensure long-term recovery.