Self-harm can be distressing and confusing for family members, but it can be addictive and difficult to quit for those engaged in self-harm. People, especially adolescents, may rely on it to deal with difficult emotions, and, in the absence of healthier coping mechanisms, they may not be able to imagine coping without it. While self-harm is not generally life-threatening, it can potentially be dangerous and is generally a symptom of deeper emotional problems. Recovery from self-harm begins with treating these underlying issues, potentially through depression treatment.
The Importance of Self-Harm Awareness
While self-harm is generally not initially life-threatening, if left unchecked and untreated self-harming behavior can escalate. Incidences of cutting or choking can get out of hand and require hospitalization or lead to permanent injury. Additionally, those who self-harm may feel shame and guilt in the aftermath, leading to socially isolating behavior and worsening the emotional distress behind the self-harm.
Because of these factors, self-harm awareness is essential. Parents, educators, and peers should recognize the signs of self-harm and cultivate a safe and supportive environment so those struggling with self-harm can get the help they need. Some of these warning signs include:
- Unexplained and frequent cuts, bruises, or burns
- Concealment of the arms or legs at all times, even in inappropriate weather
- Repeated injuries in the same place
- Signs they have been pulling their hair out
- Collecting or carrying lighters or sharp items like razor blades
- Bloody tissues or bandages frequently found in the trash
- Unlikely excuses for injuries
- Frequent behavioral changes
Steps to Self-Harm Recovery
Getting help for self-harm and beginning the path to recovery can initially be intimidating. However, if you are self-harming and want to stop, you will find many resources available to you and many people willing to help you begin your recovery. Here are a few of the steps you can take to begin self-harm recovery.
Reach Out For Help
The first mistake many people make when dealing with self-harm is trying to recover alone. The first step of recovery should be finding somebody to confide in. This can be anybody you feel you can trust. If you are not comfortable speaking to your parents or friends, teachers, religious leaders, or counselors can also offer support and a listening ear and point you towards recovery resources.
Identify Your Triggers
It is essential to understand your triggers and what feelings push you to self-harm. In what situations do you feel compelled to self-harm, and what emotions do these situations bring up? By identifying your feelings and the potential reasons you are self-harming, you can find healthier coping mechanisms to turn to rather than self-harming.
Find New Coping Mechanisms
Once you find and identify your triggers, you can develop new and better coping mechanisms rather than self-harm should the urge arise. These can include a variety of activities, such as:
- Listening to music
- Take a walk
- Call a friend or loved one
- Do household chores
- Paint or draw
Pursue Treatment at a Self-harm Treatment Center
Even with a robust support system, many people find recovering from self-harm without professional support difficult. A self-harm treatment center will put you in contact with a therapist who can use evidence-based treatments to address your emotional needs and deal with the underlying issues behind your self-harm. Some of the therapy options available can include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Recreational therapy
Learn How Self-Harm Treatment at Atlanta Center for Mental Health Can Help You
If you or a loved one is struggling to recover from self-harm, professional support can be a necessary step in your recovery. At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we offer compassionate care for those in self-harm recovery. Our staff is dedicated to helping our clients forge healthy coping mechanisms and address the underlying causes of their self-harm. Call 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about self-harm awareness and the recovery process.