Self-harm, or self-injury, is the expression of a psychological impulse control disorder that causes people to physically hurt themselves in order to experience relief from emotional or mental distress. Adolescent self-harm is higher than self-harm in any other age group, and intervention is often needed to prevent self-harm behaviors, teach healthy and effective coping skills, and deal with the emotional triggers from which self-harm arises.
While self-harm may induce an initial release of tension, it is typically followed by shame, guilt, and the return of painful emotions. At Clearfork Academy, our specialized programs address self-harm by considering the underlying issues that are deeply rooted beneath the surface. Without treatment, core issues will never be effectively addressed. Through consistent support and guidance, our exceptional team is committed to helping teens find a healthier, happier life beyond the grips of self-harm.
Once leaving treatment, teens will be equipped with mental resilience, which empowers them to take back control of their lives. If you believe your teen is dealing with self-harm and mental health issues, contact us today to discuss how we can support you. We are here to help.
Self-harm, also known as self-injury, is when a person actively hurts themselves. In most cases, individuals inflict pain upon themselves to deal with painful emotions or psychological trauma from past experiences.
Although not a mental illness, the urge to self-injure is often associated with a range of mental health issues, such as eating disorders, depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder. Self-harming behavior is a maladaptive behavior that stems from unhealthy coping strategies.
The main difference between self-harm and suicidal behavior is the intent. Non-suicidal self-injury is carried out with the intention to cause pain to oneself, whereas suicide is an attempt to end one’s life. While both will stem from emotional triggers, self-harm is a coping mechanism to replace emotional pain with physical pain. Suicide is an attempt to end this pain, as individuals who attempt suicide often feel like things will never improve.
It may seem counter-intuitive that someone making visible marks on themselves would go to great lengths to hide self-injury, but more often than not, this is the case. We understand that in some teens' journey, self-injurious behavior is a cry for help because they are unable to understand or deal with their emotions, or they are in pain and want support but do not know how to ask. These instances can make it difficult to spot signs of self-harm. However, there are some warning signs to look out for, including:
Trauma and negative emotions can be difficult to navigate at any age, let alone in the developmental stages of your life. Although there is no single factor behind the impulse to self-injure, the behaviors may result from:
Existing mental health conditions – anxiety, depression, or personality disorders may cause self-harm. Often, one mental health condition will tie into one another, making it difficult to pinpoint an exact cause.
Abuse- physical or mental abuse can be a trigger for self-injury. Often abuse makes teens or young adults feel ashamed, which causes them to self-harm to either punish themselves or attempt to forget.
Emotional pain – self-harm can be triggered by emotional troubles or may be an attempt to cope with extremely stressful situations.
Self-harm behaviors can differ for everyone but generally, self-harm is anything a person does to themselves that causes deliberate pain or hurt to their bodies. Some forms of self-harm may be more physically serious or obvious than others; nevertheless, all self-harm should be taken seriously. Types of self-harm that young people may engage in include:
Discovering that your teen is self-harming can be extremely overwhelming. By learning about self-harm, communicating, coping with your own emotions, finding professional help, and simply just being present to show love, you can begin to help your teen.
An important step in guiding your teen through their difficult time is by increasing communication. Try to create a safe space where they feel they can express emotions free of judgment. By maintaining a caring and neutral tone, you can begin to seek medical treatment together.
At Clearfork Academy, you will be assigned a mental health professional who will help your teen with preventing self-harm by learning new coping skills and dealing with triggers and root causes.
Professional treatment can help your teen understand the reasons they are self-harming, as well as their triggers and how to control them. If they are hesitant to begin, start with small steps: research and identify some important self-care tips and suggest phone support or online services to kickstart their recovery journey.
Asking for support can be scary, but feeling alone can be scarier. Your thoughts do not define you, and help is always available. Self-harm is a dangerous path and a warning sign that help is needed. Reach out to Clearfork Academy today and begin your recovery journey.
Be open and communicative. Express that you are worried and that their behavior is not a healthy coping mechanism. Simply being present, showing support, and encouraging treatment may be enough to get them to seek help. In other cases, it may take a little more perseverance and patience.
Clearfork Academy is run by an outstanding team of licensed therapists who work with our teens to understand their mental health and create positive, life-affirming behaviors for lasting change. We utilize a range of evidence-based therapy methods, such as individual, adventure, and family therapy. We are here to help.