Self-harm is the act of intentionally harming your own body to cope with emotional pain, anger, or frustration. The practice has existed for years, but it is of particular concern today due to its marked rise in teens over the past decade. Generally, self-harm is done by impulsively cutting, hitting, or burning your body, but it is often not done as a suicide attempt. Instead, self-harm is intended to bring momentary relief and release of tension. However, it is still an important indicator of severe emotional distress or mental illness, and it could also be a precursor to more severe forms of self-harm.
As a result, it is vital to be vigilant for the warning signs of self-harm, and should you notice your loved ones self-harming, they may require treatment in a depression treatment program. Through a depression treatment program with Atlanta Center for Mental Health, your loved one can learn to recognize self-harm as an unhealthy coping mechanism and will find healthier ways to cope. To learn more about depression treatment and self-harm, call 833.625.0458.
Reasons for Self-Harm
It can be hard for parents and loved ones of those struggling with mental health to understand why someone would self-harm. Ultimately, every person will have their own complicated and individual reasons. But, it can often occur as a response to significant emotional upheavals like a break-up, divorce, or bullying at school. Self-harm can be a way for people to feel in control of their emotions, as a way to release feelings of anger, shame, or grief, or as a form of self-punishment.
One reason self-harm is particularly prevalent among teens may be due to teens’ still developing emotional maturity and difficulty processing complicated emotions. In addition, the prevalence of self-harm among teens can also lead their peers to self-injury out of curiosity or experimentation. Unfortunately, self-harm can quickly spiral out of control. Many people report escalating severity to self-harm over time, leading to extensive scarring, injury, or accidental death.
Warning Signs of Self-Harm
If you are a parent or loved one of someone dealing with emotional distress, it is important to be well-versed in the warning signs of self-harm. Some of these warning signs may be emotional or behavioral, such as:
- Statements of helplessness or worthlessness
- Relationship problems or avoidance of relationships
- Poor performance at work or school
- Emotional instability or mood swings
These signs could indicate that your loved one is dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil and may need additional attention and support. However, other behaviors may indicate your loved one has been actively hurting themselves. Such signs of self-injury include:
- Unexplained and frequent cuts, bruises, or burns
- Multiple wounds in the same place
- Wearing long sleeves or pants in hot weather
- Refusing to let anyone see their arms or legs
- Bloody tissues or bandages
- Collecting or carrying lighters or sharp items like razor blades
- Signs they have been pulling their hair out
- Unlikely reasons for injuries
If you recognize these signs in yourself or someone you love, the time to act is now.
Get Help for Self-Harm With Atlanta Center for Mental Health
If you begin noticing these indicators, it may be time to speak with your loved one about self-harm and work to get them the help they need. While your loved one is more than likely not self-harming in a suicide attempt, self-harm is still a serious issue and a strong indicator that they may need professional treatment.
At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we will work with your loved ones to understand and address the causes behind their self-harm. We will also develop healthy coping mechanisms they can rely on should the urge to self-harm arise. The path to peace, stability and health can begin at Atlanta Center for Mental Health. To learn more about how we can help you or your loved ones deal with signs of self-injury, call 833.625.0458 or fill out our online contact form today.