Self-Harm InterventionFebruary 9, 2023
Understanding Nonsuicidal Self-Injury
Individuals who self-harm (engage in nonsuicidal self-injury) intentionally cut, burn, or otherwise hurt themselves. Typically, this represents an unhealthy means of coping with emotional pain. Common methods include:
- Cutting with a sharp object
- Pulling out hair
- Picking at wounds to prevent them from healing
- Burning the skin
- Hitting oneself
- Consuming poisonous or harmful substances
Some extreme acts of self-harm could lead to broken bones, infection, or lasting damage. The intake of drugs or alcohol while self-harming could also lead to severe injuries. The urge to inflict pain may increase in severity when it becomes a coping mechanism. This behavior could lead to feelings of embarrassment or shame due to the marks left behind by constant cutting or burning. Learning and understanding other means to cope with emotional distress will help in the long run.
Why Do People Self-Harm?
Self-harm itself is not a mental illness, but is reflective of a need for improved coping mechanisms. Such tendencies are linked to conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic distress disorder (PTSD), and certain personality disorders.
This pattern of behavior is common in teens and young adults, but can occur later in life too, among those who have experienced trauma, neglect, or abuse. Individuals who grow up in unstable families may begin hurting themselves as a coping mechanism for sadness, anger, frustration, and pain.
Some reasons people self-harm include:
- Problems at home
- Disagreements with friends
- Academic pressure
- Depression and anxiety
- Low self-esteem
- Major changes, such as moving to a new place or changing schools
- Alcohol or drug use
Signs of Self-Harm
Signs of self-harm differ from one person to another. But some of the most obvious symptoms can be categorized into four main types.
Behavioral signs. Some behavioral patterns of self-harm include wearing long-sleeved tops – even when it’s hot – to cover wounds. People with self-harming tendencies may avoid certain outdoor activities like swimming to prevent others from knowing what’s wrong. You may also find unexplained injuries on their body, which they try to cover up with questionable explanations. You may find them hiding potentially dangerous items such as razor blades and cigarette lighters in the home.
Psychosocial signs. Psychosocial signs include a disinterest in activities and hobbies they once used to enjoy, avoidance of social interactions, challenges in communicating with family and loved ones, severe mood swings, and a disruption in their eating and sleeping schedules.
Physical signs. Scars, wounds, and cuts on the body are some of the most obvious physical signs of self-harm. Frequent complaints of headaches and abdominal pain could also be related.
Psychological signs. Psychological signs include feelings of anxiety and depression.
While individuals who self-harm may on occasion ask members of their family for help, the issue usually becomes apparent after loved ones detect signs of self-injury. In some cases, a routine medical examination performed by a doctor could uncover this condition.
Such behavior is a serious concern and it’s vital to get professional help to carry out effective interventions for self-harm to help your loved ones overcome such tendencies.
Whitman Recovery Service is an organization that offers self-harm interventions. With a success rate of over 98%, Whitman Recovery Service specializes in empathetic, no-nonsense confrontations that get results.
Timely intervention can help your loved one recognize and handle their triggers, learn skills to manage their emotions, improve their self-worth, enrich their relationships, and learn essential problem-solving skills. Reach out to us today if you need a self-harm intervention for your loved one.