Self-harm (also known as self-injury) involves deliberately injuring yourself. It can include any type of harm, although cutting and burning are among the most common forms. While some people injure themselves on their hands or arms, others choose less visible places or go to great lengths to hide signs of self-harm. If you are worried that a friend or family member may be injuring themselves intentionally, look for signs such as the following:

  • Scars
  • Long sleeves or pants in any weather
  • Finding sharp objects in their possession, such as knives or razor blades
  • Frequent appearance of fresh cuts, bruises, or other injuries
  • Big emotions or mood swings

If you self-harm, your actions may be accompanied by feelings of embarrassment or isolation. However, if you are feeling out of control of your own behavior, you aren’t alone. Self-harm isn’t unusual at any age. According to the American Psychological Association, 17% of adolescents have self-harmed, while 5% of adults have done the same. And because self-harm is often a sign of deeper hurt or co-occurring issues, every single person practicing self-harm deserves our care, attention, and help.

Why Does Someone Self-Harm?

Self-harm can stimulate endorphins or feel like a release of unwanted or overwhelming feelings. As with eating disorders, self-harm stems from a need to regulate emotions. Both offer a false sense of control. And self-harm is a red flag for co-occurring mental health disorders that are making emotions and feelings too hard to cope with. Self-harm is often related to one or more of the following:

  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Alcohol or substance use disorders

You may not know if these or other underlying issues exist in yourself or a loved one, but a dual diagnosis is more common than you may think. When you struggle with a dual diagnosis, you are simply trying to cope with what is immediate and obvious. Without support and treatment, you lack insight into why you are feeling the way you do.

Treatment helps you learn the “why” behind your self-harm. It then gives you the tools you need to deal with mental health challenges, or simply life itself, in a healthy, productive way. Without professional help, you may rely on unhealthy behaviors to manage unwanted feelings or emotions, and these may include self-harm. However, physical pain is not a solution fro emotional pain, and self-harm comes with real consequences.

Because self-harm is often a sign of deeper hurt or co-occurring issues, every single person practicing self-harm deserves our care, attention, and help.

How Does Self-Harm Hurt?

While self-harm seems to offer temporary relief, it actually has the opposite effect on your mental well-being. It can create feelings of shame or guilt, and worsen underlying conditions by leaving you with no tangible, long-term answers.

Additionally, self-harm has an obvious and immediate effect on your physical health. It leads to scarring, infection, and severe injuries that can land you in the hospital or worse. And while self-harm is not a suicide attempt, research from Evidence-Based Mental Health indicates a strong correlation between the two, as more than half of those who complete suicide have previously self-harmed.

Self-harm isn’t a problem you can ignore about yourself, a friend, or a family member; getting treatment is a lifesaving decision.

Healing the Hurt of Self-Harm

Here at The Meadows Ranch, we believe everyone’s path to restored health looks differently, and there are many ways to find a solid foundation for recovery. This is why we offer dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and much, much more. We work with you to create your personalized treatment plan and develop life-long tools for recovery. Please reach out, and begin your healing journey today.

Call 866-332-5209