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What Are the Dangers of Teen Self-Harm?

Self-harm refers to any form of self-injury. Adolescents who engage in self-harm use it to cope with feelings of inadequacy, anger, depression, loneliness, and self-consciousness.

Different Types of Self-Harm

Most self-harm acts include cutting or scratching with a sharp object. In a ritualistic way, teens carve words or symbols into their skin to express their feelings of alienation, loneliness, anger, hurt, or low self-worth. Other types of self-harm include:

  • Biting, scratching, or piercing their skin with sharp tools
  • Burning their skin
  • Hitting or punching themselves or the walls
  • Picking and seeking fights to experience pain
  • Slamming their head or body against walls and other objects
  • Reckless driving
  • Engaging in risky sexual acts
  • Tearing out their hair
  • Inserting objects into the body
  • Overdosing on drugs or excessive drinking
  • Overexercising to the point of injury

The Signs and Dangers of Self-Harm

Long-term self-harm can lead to severe repercussions for teens. These include:

  • Physical health problems
  • Social isolation and alienation
  • Feelings of guilt and regret
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Decreased sense of self-worth
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

There are a few signs that your teenager is self-harming, but the most common ones are:

  • Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities.
  • Sudden changes in eating habits.
  • Extreme weight loss or gain.
  • Suicidal thoughts or acts.
  • Unexplained scars, cuts, scratches, bruises, or scabs, especially on the wrists, arms, thighs, or torso.
  • Behaving impulsively and erratically.
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness.
  • Often seeking privacy.
  • Unexplained blood stains on bedding, clothing, or towels.
  • Keeping sharp objects in their possession, like razors, safety pins, nails, scissors, knives, needles, or pieces of glass.

Pressures That Teenage Boys Face

Often teenagers turn to self-harm to relieve the pressures they feel from the circumstances of everyday life. Some of the typical pressures include:

#1. Chasing Popularity: Many teenagers feel the pressure to fit in with their peers. Instead of chasing popularity, we suggest teens pursue hobbies or passions where they can meet like-minded peers.

#2. Family Dynamics: Teens in families that lack trust, compassion, guidance, and communication skills often deal with feelings of anxiety, ostracization, and negligence. It sets them up for emotional distress when interacting with their parents or other family members. We recommend families take some steps to improve lines of communication, like family therapy.

#3. Anxiety and Stress: Teenagers face a lot of pressure and stress trying to find their place in the world. It can lead to self-harm to cope with these feelings. Instead, we suggest teaching teen boys healthy coping skills for dealing with stress and pursuing goals.

#4. Dissatisfied With Their Body Image: Many teenagers view photos of the “ideal body” through social media, magazines, and tv. This can lead to self-harm practices like poor nutrition or overexercising to build their self-worth and control their bodies.

#5. Educational Achievements: When teenage boys experience the pressure of pursuing academic achievement, they often struggle with feelings of inadequacy and unhappiness. Some schools provide students with counseling, peer-to-peer support systems, and educational programs to alleviate stress.

#6. Playing on a Sports Team: Teenage boys experience pressure to play sports and win. If they fail to win or make it on the team, it can cause them to feel self-conscious or inferior. They may push their bodies beyond the breaking point as punishment for not meeting specific benchmarks. We suggest teaching teens that the value of sports extends beyond winning. Instead, they can learn to value sports for its comradeship and opportunities for growth.

#7. Internet: They can find websites, forums, and social media groups that support and glamorize self-harm. These sources provide information on the different methods of self-harm and hiding it. Overconsumption of digital media takes teens away from healthier activities and coping mechanisms. Thus, we recommend that teens unplug and reduce digital media activity.

Treating Self-Harm

You can use a few methods to help your teenager stop self-harm. Some of these methods include:

  • Talking and listening to them about their pain and anxiety.
  • Giving them access to safe and healthy activities can reduce the pain and anxiety they may experience.
  • A good therapist can help your teen identify the reasons behind their self-harm and provide resources to help them cope.
  • Consider proper medication like antidepressants from a medical professional.
  • Having a support network that will listen and help them.
  • As a parent, learn the ins and outs of self-harm. Then, you can better serve your child through the healing process.
  • A support group of peers can provide your teen with a space where you can talk about their feelings, ask for advice, and find others who have experienced the same thing.

There are many things you can do to help your teenager stop self-harm. If your teenager is harming themselves, there are effective treatments and therapies that will help them work through their pain. At Clearfork Academy, we offer various services that help teens and young adults overcome addiction, self-harm, and other mental health-related issues. Our program functions to provide lasting change for those affected by these problems. Our qualified clinicians provide expert-driven counseling, medication management, adventure therapy, individualized treatment plans, medical detoxes, and relapse prevention strategies. With us, your child will have the right access to care and establish who they are and their place in this world. Our goal is to instill hope and motivation for teens to become their best selves. If your teen is currently struggling to manage their mental health needs, get help today. To learn more about our comprehensive treatment program, contact Clearfork Academy today by calling (817) 259-2597.

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