Self-harm is clinically termed non-suicidal self-injury and it sounds simple enough: hurting yourself intentionally. However, it’s complex and often misunderstood.
Self-harm involves using physical pain to communicate emotional distress, especially difficult feelings like anger, sadness or worry. While the acts of self-harm do cause pain, they can also generate a strong sense of emotional release. Some people struggle with a sense of emotional numbness. For them, self-harm may give them an opportunity to feel anything.
One of the most common forms of self-harm involves cutting with razor blade or a sharp knife. Most of the time, those who cut themselves try to hide it in areas that aren’t easily visible to others. Other forms of self-harm include causing burns, hitting and punching. The physical effects can range from mild injuries such as bruises or cuts, while others can be serious enough to warrant medical attention. People may even end up with serious injuries like severe burns, deep wounds or broken bones.
Despite the fact that people may be uncomfortable discussing self-harm, it’s quite common. Self-harm isn’t a mental illness or condition on its own, but it points to an emotional disturbance that requires intervention. Self-harm also is associated with a number of other behavioral health conditions, including depression, anxiety, trauma/PTSD, borderline personality disorder, and eating disorders.
The American Psychological Association has conducted a number of studies about self-harm. Here are some self-harm statistics that may surprise you.
People who engage in self-harm want to feel pain, but they’re not necessarily suicidal. It can, however, be a predictor of future suicidal behavior. Also, self-harm under influence of alcohol or drugs can cause unintentionally severe injuries.
Hope Canyon understands self-harm and what motivates it. That’s why you don’t have to hide it anymore. And you don’t have to continue to do it. Because we can help you get to the root of the emotional distress that leads to your self-harm, and treat it directly. Because even when emotions are difficult or unpleasant, there’s a way of dealing with them that’s healthy and productive.
Many who struggle with self-harm have a dual diagnosis of co-occurring mental health conditions and substance use disorder. Hope Canyon offers a number of effective therapies — including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance commitment therapy — that can give you the tools to regulate your emotions. That way, you’re dealing with them directly, not channeling them into physical pain or other less healthy outlets. Also, if it’s beneficial for you to have medication, our clinical team can find the right one(s) for you.
Self-harm isn’t just about emotions, though. It also involves a disordered relationship with your body. That’s why Hope Canyon’s wellness program can help you heal physically and cultivate more respect for your body. Through yoga, meditation, and other tools, you can learn to live in the present without needing to rely on pain.