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Self-Harm Treatment Info

Self-harm is a serious and fairly common problem in the United States. Knowing what it involves and how to help someone who tries to harm themself is important.

What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm refers to deliberately hurting oneself. This might be done through burning or cutting oneself.

Self-harm is fundamentally different from suicide. With self-harm, the intent is to not kill but to injure.

Why Do People Self-Harm?

People engage in self-harm as a way to cope with pressure, stress, frustration, or emotional turmoil.

Self-harm brings them release from pressure or tension. However, this release is temporary and is quickly replaced by shame or guilt.

Self-harm can also be done as a form of punishment. The person engaging in this act might feel guilty over previous actions. Self-harm is their way of punishing themselves.

For some people, self-harm happens a few times during their life. For others, it becomes a habit/coping mechanism.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

What are the Symptoms of the Potential for Self-Harm

  • Complicated or traumatic relationships with others
  • Frequently criticizing themselves and their actions
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • High emotional instability
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

People who engage in self-harm are likely to have these physical signs:

  • Have scars or fresh cuts around their hands or legs
  • Wear long sleeves or long dresses to cover up their bodies
  • Signs of burns on their arms and legs

How Can You Help Someone Who is Cutting Themselves?

This will depend on your relationship with the person. If you are a parent, punishing or shouting at your child will only make things worse.

First, contact your doctor immediately. You should also make sure they see a mental professional or expert. Also, check the severity of their injuries. This is a period where your child needs your loving care.

If you are a friend, advise them to see a doctor. When dealing with people that self-harm, make sure you keep disapproving comments away from the conversation.

Check on them regularly and try to help them in any way possible.

What are the Possible Treatments for Self-Harm?

Self-harm is especially dangerous when it becomes a habit. Talking to a doctor is important. Your doctor will conduct physical examinations. This will likely be to check on your injuries or wounds.

They might also conduct mental health tests to rule out any other mental health issues.

Self-harm is usually treated by talk therapy. Talking therapies focuses on the following

  • To manage your emotions better
  • Improve your self-confidence
  • Improve your relationships with others
  • Learn how to manage stress better

Other forms of therapies that might be employed include dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy.

If other mental health issues are also diagnosed, the treatment plan will cover it.

In rare situations where injuries are severe, your doctor might request hospitalization.

When Should You See a Doctor?

You should see the doctor immediately if you are engaging in self-harm. If your friend is engaging in self-harm, encourage them to see their doctor. Reach out to California Prime Recovery to discuss treatment options.

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