Lifestyle - February 27, 2023

Self-Harm: Recognizing the Warning Signs and Seeking Treatment

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by intense emotions such as anger, sadness, or anxiety to the point where you thought you couldn’t handle them?

Self-harm is a serious issue affecting millions of people worldwide. It is a coping mechanism that involves deliberately injuring oneself, and it can be difficult for others to understand. The problem is that self-harm often goes unnoticed until it becomes a serious issue.

In this article, we will discuss the warning signs of self-harm and how to seek treatment for those who may be struggling with this issue.

Warning signs of self-harm can vary from person to person, but some of the most common include wearing long sleeves or pants in warm weather, sudden changes in behavior or mood, and unexplained injuries such as cuts, bruises, or burns. According to Dr. Laurel Williams, a psychiatrist at the University of California, “self-harm can be a way to cope with emotional pain, but it can also be a way to communicate distress or to gain control over a situation.”

If you suspect that someone you know may be self-harming, it’s important to approach the subject with compassion and without judgment. “It’s important to listen without judgment and to offer support and resources,” says Dr. Williams. “This can include helping the person connect with a mental health professional or crisis hotline.”

There are a variety of treatment options available for those struggling with self-harm, including therapy, medication, and support groups. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that has been shown to be effective in treating self-harm behaviors. CBT helps individuals identify the thoughts and emotions that trigger self-harm and develop healthy coping mechanisms to manage these feelings.

Medication can also be useful in treating self-harm, particularly if the individual is also struggling with an underlying mental health condition such as depression or anxiety. However, medication should always be prescribed and monitored by a mental health professional.

Support groups can also be a helpful resource for individuals struggling with self-harm. These groups provide a safe and supportive environment where individuals can share their experiences and receive support from others who have gone through similar struggles. According to Dr. Williams, “support groups can be especially helpful for those who feel isolated or alone in their struggles.”

It’s important to note that recovery from self-harm is a process that takes time and dedication. It’s not something that can be fixed overnight, and there may be setbacks along the way. However, with the right treatment and support, it is possible to overcome self-harm and lead a fulfilling life.

If you are struggling with self-harm, or know someone who is, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. “The earlier someone seeks treatment, the better the outcome,” says Dr. Williams. “There is no shame in seeking help, and there are resources available to help individuals recover from self-harm.”

In conclusion, self-harm is a serious issue that requires attention and understanding. By recognizing the warning signs and seeking help when necessary, individuals can overcome self-harm and lead a fulfilling life. As Dr. Williams says, “self-harm does not have to define you. With the right treatment and support, you can overcome this and move forward towards a brighter future.”

Know your resources. To connect with a crisis counselor via a national Crisis Text Line, text HOME to 741741 for 24/7 support.

The 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 800-273-8255.

Under their “resources” tab, The S.A.F.E. Alternative website has informational self-injury videos and a 32-minute video for parents called “How to Understand and Help My Child Who is Self-Injuring.”

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