Treatment and Counseling for Self-Harm
Self-harm is different for every person it affects. Self-harm (also known as self-injury and self-mutilation) may begin as a way to cope with stress, overwhelming issues or past trauma. There are countless ways people harm themselves. Cutting, bruising, burning and hair pulling are among the most common ways people self-harm. While self-injury may make individuals feel different for short periods of time, the relief never lasts and painful feelings return. The cycle of self-injury, followed by brief relief and then deeper pain can become a dangerous and never-ending cycle if left untreated.
Why do people engage in self-mutilation and self-harm? Often these actions are ways to express feelings of anger, hurt or distress. Individuals who do not understand the cycle of self-harm may make the mistake of thinking self-harm is a way to gain attention. Understanding self-injury is the first (and biggest) step toward recovery. Counselors can help explore the reasons behind this behavior and provide ways for patients to feel peaceful without self-injury. Some of the more common reasons that people self-injure and do not seek help are as follow:
- The act of self-injury is usually a cry for help, even if the self-injurer keeps her or his scars hidden
- Those who self-harm are often trying to deal with past traumatic experiences
- Most self-injurers feel afraid and ashamed of the self-injuring behavior, which can prevent the person from seeking help
- Often, when a person self-harms, she or he is trying to cope with a distressing or overwhelming experience or feeling. It may be very hard for this person to ask for help
- Self-harmers usually believe that the feeling of physical pain is better than the pain of emotions
Signs and Symptoms of Self-Harm
The following are signs of self-injury:
- Unexplained scratches or bruises on the body
- Stories about injuries that do not make sense or seem made up
- The person begins to wear long-sleeved clothing or other clothing to hide wounds or scars
- Changes in eating habits
- Depression or angry outbursts
- Problems with other issues such as alcohol use or drug use, which may indicate a Dual Diagnosis
People who self-harm are usually likeable, intelligent and fun to be around. One common trait of self-harmers is they tend to want to please other people, which is why it may be so difficult for them to share uncomfortable emotions.
Treatment for Self-Harm
The most important part of treating self-harm is to keep the self-injurer safe. Self-harm is a very complicated problem and requires the aid of a caring and experienced professional to overcome. Because self-harm is a newly recognized mental health challenge, treatment options are changing every day.
Need Help for Self-Harm, Self-Injury and Self-Mutilation?
If you or someone you love is self-harming, it is time to seek help. Self-injury can be both dangerous and deadly. Because self-mutilation often gets more severe as time passes, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Our toll-free number can provide you with the information you need. Our helpline is available 24 hours a day and is staffed by trained counselors who understand your situation. We can offer information about self-harm and resources for treatment. You owe it to yourself and your family, call us today.