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Recognizing Signs of Self-Harm

If you’ve never struggled with self-harm, the idea of it can seem foreign and confusing. Self-harm, also known as self-injury or self-mutilation, is when a person intentionally harms themselves without the intent to die. It’s a coping mechanism for dealing with difficult emotions or situations and is often a symptom of underlying mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, or trauma.

While self-harm can take many forms, the most common types include cutting, burning, and hitting oneself. These behaviors may seem to provide temporary relief from emotional distress, but they can also become addictive and lead to serious physical harm. Recognizing the signs of self-harm is crucial in getting help and support for yourself or a loved one.

Northeast Health Services offers depression treatment services that can support people struggling with self-harm. If you’re ready to learn more, call 508.794.8711 today.

What Is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is a complex behavior and emotional condition where a person deliberately inflicts physical harm onto their own body to cope with emotional pain or distress. It is often a manifestation of profound emotional distress and a symptom of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and borderline personality disorder.

Non-suicidal self injury (NSSI) is not a suicide attempt. Rather, it is a harmful way to express feelings and cope with emotional distress. It’s crucial to remember that people who self-harm usually do so in private and often work hard to keep their injuries hidden.

Self-harm can take many forms, including but not limited to cutting the skin with objects like knives or razors, burning oneself, hitting or punching oneself, pulling out hair, or self-poisoning. These actions, while providing temporary relief to some, do not solve any underlying issues and often lead to a cycle of continued self-harm.

Recognizing the Signs of Self-Harm

Recognizing the signs of self-harm is a critical step in providing help and support. The signs may vary from person to person, but there are some common indicators to watch out for. Physical signs include:

  • Unexplained scars, cuts, bruises, or burns that are hidden or appear in patterns
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants even in warm weather to hide injuries
  • Hoarding sharp objects like razors or knives
  • Frequent injuries without a reasonable explanation
  • Refusal to discuss injuries or avoidance of certain topics
  • Emotional signs may include:
  • Increased isolation or withdrawal from activities and relationships
  • Changes in mood, such as becoming more irritable, anxious, or depressed
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness
  • Difficulty expressing emotions or talking about personal experiences

While these signs do not necessarily mean that a person is struggling with self-harm, they can be indicators of underlying distress and should not be ignored. It’s vital to approach the situation with empathy, understanding, and non-judgmental support.

How Mental Health Treatment Can Help

Self-harm is a coping mechanism, and to stop it, people need healthier ways of managing difficult emotions. Talking with a therapist or mental health professional can help people develop alternative coping strategies and address underlying issues that may be contributing to self-harm behaviors.

Medication might also be prescribed to manage any underlying mental health conditions and alleviate symptoms. A combination of therapy and medication can provide a comprehensive and effective treatment plan for those struggling with self-harm.

Call Northeast Health Services Today

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, it’s essential to seek help from a professional. Northeast Health Services offers individualized treatment for depression and other mental health concerns that may contribute to self-harm behaviors. Our team of compassionate therapists and psychiatrists is here to support you on your journey toward healing and recovery.

Call 508.794.8711 today to get in touch with Northeast Health Services. If you’re ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, click here to reach out to our team of empathetic, mental health care experts! For existing clients, please click here and find your office location to contact your office directly.