Self-harm or self-injury is exactly what it sounds like: the act of intentionally harming yourself. It can manifest as cutting, banging your head, holding a flame to your skin, or in any number of ways that inflict physical pain in an attempt to deal with emotional pain.
While self-harm is not an attempt at suicide, it is extremely dangerous and the resulting injuries can be fatal. Research shows that approximately 2 million Americans self-harm in some way. Self-harm does not discriminate when it comes to race or background, but it occurs more frequently with women.
Symptoms of Self-Harm
There are many signs that can suggest that someone is self-harming. If you notice unusual cuts or bruises, burns, patchy hair, or obvious attempt to cover up injuries like these (such as pants or long sleeves, even in hot weather), self-harm may be taking place.
Often such indicators of self-harm take place in combination with sudden withdrawal from social activities, depression, low self-esteem, inability to deal with situations, or apparent abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Causes of Self-Harm
There are many reasons why people turn to self-harm. Self-harm is often used as a coping mechanism when people feel out of control of their lives. Self-harm can also be, often subconsciously, an attempt at an unspoken communication with the outside world that things are “not okay.”
Self-harm can be caused by a need to express emotional pain and anger. This may be an underlying reason as to why more women than men are prone to self-harm, as society has historically taught women that expressing anger is not okay.
The urge to self-harm can be addressed and stopped through therapy. It is important to find the underlying reason behind the self-harm in order to address the issue.
Certain therapies, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), can provide those who self-harm skills to deal with emotional issues in a healthy way. Holistic therapies such as yoga therapy and art therapy can also help to give you an outlet for your emotions so you don’t always turn to harming yourself.
Our self-harm treatment center staff is caring and understanding while carrying out your treatment plan. We only use proven therapies and do so in a comfortable environment. We are one of the only self-harm treatment clinics on the West Coast that solely caters to women.
The success rate for recovery from self-harm is highly dependent on your emotional and physical state. With therapy and dedication, recovery from the urge to self-harm is possible when its underlying issues are addressed and worked through.
Why Choose Clearview Women’s Center?
If you are engaging in self-harmful behavior, Clearview Women’s Center provides the safe and nurturing space you need to address your behaviors and develop healthier ways to cope with your emotions. Through Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and other therapies, we can teach you new skills so that you stop harming yourself.
With self-harm, it’s also imperative to diagnose and address underlying disorders, such as Borderline Personality Disorder, depression, or trauma. Clearview Women’s Center is staffed by professional and caring therapists who will be able to design and carry out the right treatment plan for you as an individual.
We are located in the beautiful West Los Angeles area, which enables us to provide a serene and unique experience inside and outside the treatment center.
Q: Lots of people say they cut themselves to deal with emotions, but what if you are cutting to actually cause an emotion?
A: Sometimes those who self-harm are actually injuring themselves in a last ditch effort to deal with episodes of dissociation, or feeling separate from their body. This is a prime example of self-harm co-occurring with another mental health disorder that needs to be addressed.
Q: Hurting myself is just how I deal with things. It’s not a big deal. How can a little cut be fatal?
A: There are many ways that even these seemingly innocuous self-injuries can cause death. Cuts can get infected. You can accidentally hit a vein while cutting and bleed to death. Those who “batter” or hit themselves, bang heads, etc., can cause brain injury. There are too many ways these self-injuries can go wrong to not deal with the issue.
Q: Is someone who self-harms also suicidal?
A: While injuries inflicted through self-harm are not intended to cause death, that does not mean that the person is not also suicidal. It depends on the co-occurring issues that are at the root of the urge to inflict self-harm. In any case, all displays of self-harm should be taken seriously and treatment should be sought at any signs of self-harmful behaviors.