self-harm, understanding self-harm, get help for self-harm, self-harm recovery, mental health, wellness, self-harm guide, coping strategies, emotional wellness, support for self-harm
Mental Health

Understanding self-harm: What it is and how to get help

Because of the stigma associated with psychological issues, self-harm is frequently kept secret. However, it is far more frequent than many people think. Self-harm can occur at any age, from infants to seniors, but it is most common in teenagers and young people. In reality, nearly 15% of teenagers have reported some type of self-injury, and that percentage has risen over time.

So, what exactly is self-harm? What causes this to happen? And how can you get assistance or encouragement for someone else? We provide answers to frequently asked questions concerning self-harm, as well as links for support.

It can be done to resist the desire to harm oneself, and you do not have to do this on your own.

What exactly is self-harm?

Self-harm is an act in which somebody intentionally injures his own emotions. Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a clinical term for self-injury that is done without the aim of ending one’s life.

One of the most widespread misconceptions regarding self-harm is that it is an act of suicide. Usually, it isn’t. When interacting with loved ones and parents of those who engage in self-harming actions, psychological professionals and doctors frequently highlight this.

However, self-harm continues to be a serious issue that needs treatment, and medical professionals are wary of it. While there may not have been a conscious suicidal intent at the time, studies indicate that persistently injuring oneself has a desensitizing effect that decreases limits and can serve as a doorway to more serious injury, including suicide attempts, for particular individuals.

Self-harm is not a mental disease in and of itself, but it is frequently associated with one. Self-harming behavior is caused by an absence of abilities to cope used to deal with stressors or other triggers, according to mental health specialists. Self-injuries are typically minor and concealed in places covered by clothing. While many individuals associate self-harm with cutting, this is not the reality.

Different types of self-harm

Self-harm can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Some examples are:

  • Cutting yourself.
  • Punching yourself or something else (such as a wall)
  • Scratching your skin on purpose
  • Putting yourself on fire
  • Pulling out your hair
  • Taking something hazardous
  • Head slamming

Reasons for self-harm: Why would somebody intentionally damage themselves? For a person who engages in this behavior, Any stressor that destroys an individual’s capacity to manage might serve as a trigger for self-harm.  It is usually the result of an extremely intense or overwhelming feeling connected to relationships, work, school, finances, or a disorder of the mind.

What makes someone feel stressed is personal. People have varied situations, and we all create coping techniques – sometimes fit, sometimes unhealthy – to help us get through it. Wanting to damage oneself is a coping technique that has evolved (although counterintuitively) as a kind of release for persons who self-harm.

The procedure of healing from self-harming habits includes the person changing the compulsion to harm themselves with healthier coping mechanisms for stress.

How can assist a person who damages themselves?

It can be difficult for a person who has never self-harmed to comprehend why people do so. The initial step is to become acquainted with some of the causes for it so that you can relate with and better support someone who is experiencing it.

If you suspect someone you care about is self-harming, start asking them how they’re doing. It may appear simple, but demonstrating concern and affection for someone can go a long way. This is particularly true if they believe they are alone in their suffering and are locked in an undesirable cycle.

Self-harm is frequently a symptom of underlying psychological problems or life difficulties. Be prepared to listen to what they say without judgment, even if you disagree with what they identify as a stressor or your perception of that stressor. It’s critical to keep in mind that you may still appreciate their knowledge.

Use validating comments such as “That sounds really difficult” or “I hear you.” Always convey confidence in the person’s potential for healing and feeling good. Furthermore, convince them that they are not lonely.

You can recommend that they talk with a professional in the field of mental health gently. Always convey confidence in the person’s potential for healing and feeling better. Furthermore, convince them that they are not alone. You can recommend that they speak with a mental health expert gently. 

Can someone who self-harms recover?

Yes, without a doubt. It occurs on a daily basis. Medication for self-harm, like therapy for other medical problems, can be extremely beneficial and lead to long-term healing. This process frequently begins when a person tells somebody in their lives about self-harming or the desire to self-harm, even if it hasn’t been carried out.

Sharing your feelings with a close family member, friend, doctor, or psychological therapist is a vital step toward recovery. Chatting with your primary care physician is a good place to start. They will listen to your story, suggest skills to attempt in the short term, and link you with a professional in the field of mental health who can assist you.

Alternatively, you might begin by scheduling an appointment with an expert in mental health. Psychologists, family and marriage therapists, and professional social workers are examples of certified psychological practitioners. An experienced specialist can collaborate with you to develop a personalized treatment strategy based on your unique needs and objectives.

Treatment for self-harm

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is commonly used in the therapy of self-harm. Individuals are guided through CBT in order to better comprehend their actions as they connect to their feelings. Therapy can assist people in adopting new and better methods of dealing with tension and powerful emotions, allowing them to replace behaviors that harm themselves with a healthy coping technique. This gives individuals the ability to stop the cycle, be free of what might feel like a weighty secret, and maintain healthy coping actions in the long run.

Medication may also be used to help somebody control self-harm if the symptoms are caused by a psychological condition such as anxiety or depression.

Don’t wait – talk to a professional about self-harm

Talking about self-harm, like other kinds of mental health problems, can be difficult to initiate. However, remembering that you are not unique in your situation might be beneficial. Every year, one in every five adults in the United States suffers from an issue with their mental health. And it takes an average of ten years for someone to seek treatment.

Taking the initial step to speak with someone about self-injury demonstrates strength and perseverance. And you’ll soon have the tools you need to rewire your routines into beneficial ways of coping that will improve so many facets of your daily existence.