During Self-Injury Awareness month, it is important to discuss what it is and how to support someone dealing with it. Self-Injury, or Self-harm, is any intentional act of harm to one’s body that is not intended to be a suicide attempt. This behavior can happen in any population, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, or any other factor. Generally, the person is trying to cope with emotions or stressors but instead, they experience feelings of guilt or shame afterward, which could cause them to repeat the cycle.
Self-injury, or self-harm, is a serious issue affecting people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. It can be a difficult topic to talk about, but during Self-Injury Awareness month, it is important to raise awareness of what self-injury is, how to identify it, and how to support someone dealing with it. In this post, we will discuss what self-injury is, its causes, signs and symptoms, and effective coping strategies.
Self-Injury Red Flags to Identify:
- Unexplained marks on the skin
- Recent injuries (cuts, burns, scratches, bruises, etc)
- Possessing or accumulating sharp objects
- Wearing outfits to hide any injury that is not suitable for the season
- Excessive decorations that are not due to fashion
- Offering made-up explanations for injuries that do not match the physical damage
- Spending a lot of time alone
- Having difficulty in relationships
- Questioning one’s purpose in life or worth
- Unstable behavior
- Unpredictable mood swings
- Feeling helpless, worthless, and hopeless
- Poor self-image
- Expressing negative feelings about oneself
Self-injury is defined as any intentional act of harm to one’s body that is not intended to be a suicide attempt. There are various types of self-injury, including cutting, burning, and scratching. People who engage in self-injury often do so as a way to cope with difficult emotions, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. They may feel a sense of relief or control after engaging in self-injury, but often experience feelings of guilt or shame afterward, which could cause them to repeat the cycle.
Contrary to popular belief, self-injury is not a form of attention-seeking or manipulation. It is a serious issue that can have long-term physical and emotional consequences.
Steps to Assist an Individual Who Engages in Self-Harm:
When someone is engaging in self-harm, it is usually a sign that they are going through more serious issues such as a stressful lifestyle, home issues, or mental health conditions. Therefore, the best way to support them is to help them get the necessary help. There is a range of possible treatments, from weekly outpatient talk therapy to inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, all of which aim to identify triggers, understand the causes of self-injury, and teach appropriate coping methods. The first step is to contact a counselor and arrange a session. This will allow them to assess the situation and begin the path to recovery.
Coping Strategies for Self-Injury
For those who engage in self-injury, there are effective coping strategies that can help break the cycle of harmful behavior. Positive alternatives to self-injury may include exercise, art therapy, or mindfulness practices. Self-soothing techniques, such as deep breathing or taking a warm bath, can also help manage difficult emotions.
Therapy or counseling can be an effective way to address the underlying causes of self-injury and learn healthy coping strategies. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are two common types of therapy that can help those who engage in self-injury.
Self-injury is a serious issue that requires understanding and support from those around us. During Self-Injury Awareness month, it is important to break the stigma surrounding self-injury and provide resources for those who may be struggling. If you or someone
If you or someone you know is struggling with self-injury, know that you are not alone. Seeking professional help is an important step in managing and overcoming this challenging behavior. MarSell Wellness Center offers compassionate and effective therapy services to help individuals navigate their mental health challenges, including self-injury. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards healing and recovery.