Self-harm is not always easy to detect, as people may go to great lengths to hide their actions. Girls and young women are particularly susceptible to self-harm, as statistics show that 80-90% of those who self-harm are female. Statistics also show that people tend to hide self-harm behaviors for an average of two to three years before seeking help. Even though people hide self-harm, there are often warning signs. Learning the signs and symptoms of self-harm can help friends and loved ones intervene and get the person the help they need.
If you or a loved one is exhibiting the signs of self-harm, the mental health treatment at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® could benefit you greatly. Contact us at 855.773.0614 today for more information about self-harm and ways to improve mental health.
What Is Self-Harm?
Self-harm, also known as self-injury, self-mutilation, and cutting, is the act of deliberately causing physical harm to oneself. It can include:
- Cutting – using blades or sharp objects to cut the skin
- Burning – using cigarettes or lighters to burn the skin
- Hitting or punching oneself or objects
- Interfering with wound healing
- Excessive scratching
- Breaking bones
- Hair pulling
- Ingesting poisonous substances
It is not to be confused with suicide attempts, as self-harm is not necessarily an attempt to end one’s life. Rather, it is a way for individuals to cope with overwhelming emotions or trauma. This is because self-harm releases endorphins, creating a temporary feeling of relief or numbness. However, this relief is only temporary and can lead to long-term physical and emotional damage. While it may seem incomprehensible to those who have never experienced the urge, self-harm can provide a temporary release from intense emotions such as anger, sadness, or numbness. It can also serve as a way to feel in control of one’s body and emotions.
Signs of Self-Harm
People often hide that they are doing self-harm. However, there are some potential symptoms of self-harm to look out for in yourself or a loved one:
- Signs of cutting may include frequent long-sleeve clothing, even in hot weather, to hide scars or cuts on the arms or legs
- Unexplained wounds or scars
- Isolation and withdrawal from friends and activities
- Strange or secretive behavior
- Low self-esteem
- Expressions of feeling numb or empty
If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, seeking help from a mental health professional is crucial.
Treatment for Self-Harm
Self-harm is a symptom of an underlying issue, often related to mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, or borderline personality disorder. Treatment typically involves:
- Individual therapy to address the root causes of the self-harm
- Group therapy for support and coping skills
- Medication to help manage symptoms
- Alternative coping mechanisms, such as art therapy or mindfulness
Trying to talk to girls or young women about self-harm can be difficult, as there is still such a stigma surrounding self-harm, as well as mental health and seeking help in general. It’s important to approach the topic with empathy, compassion, and understanding. Encourage them to seek professional help and remind them that self-harm is not their only option for coping.
Learn about the Signs of Self-Harm at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®
Educating yourself and loved ones on the signs and symptoms of self-harm is an important step in getting those who struggle with the help they need. If you or a loved one are struggling with self-harm, the trained professionals at The Willows at Red Oak Recovery® can guide you on the path to healing and recovery. Contact us today by calling us at 855.773.0614 or by using our online form. At The Willows at Red Oak Recovery®, we offer comprehensive mental health treatment that addresses the root cause of self-harm and helps individuals learn healthier coping mechanisms. Our compassionate team is here to support you on your journey toward healing and recovery.