Self-harm refers to the act of purposely inflicting injury or pain on oneself. When people think of self-harm, they typically think of cutting. But it is important to note that self-harm comes in many forms.
Self-harming behaviors are signs that there is deep emotional turmoil that an adolescent girl or woman is struggling to cope with. By receiving self-harm treatment, women and girls can learn new coping skills while also uncovering the root cause for why the behavior began.
Common Signs & Symptoms of Self-Harm
Self-harm is not an actual mental health disorder. Instead, it is a behavior that shows there is conflict happening within a woman or girl that must be addressed. Self-harm can also be a symptom of a number of mental health disorders.
There are many signs that a woman or girl is engaging in self-harm, but it is important to know that you will not always be able to tell just by looking at her. Those who self-harm often go to great lengths to make sure their injuries are concealed.
Self-harm signs that are more apparent include the following:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts or pants even when it is warm outside
- Broken bones without explanation
- Any noticeable injuries are said to be the result of an accident
- Keeping sharp objects or lighters close by
- Spending a significant amount of time alone
- Easily agitated
Statistics on how many people self-harm are not extensive due to the fact that these behaviors are typically done in private and many women and girls do not seek self-harm treatment.
Self-harm tends to be associated with adolescents and teenagers, but women can struggle with self-harming behaviors too. Self-injury is also frequently linked to those who have experienced trauma as well as those who suffer from eating disorders.
One common misconception about self-harm is that women and girls engage in these behaviors to draw attention to themselves. That is not the case in most instances. Another misconception is that self-harm is the same as attempting suicide. This is also not true.
Self-injury is a way to seek relief from emotional pain. Sometimes it is difficult to express internal pain because you cannot physically see it. By transferring that pain externally onto one’s body, it makes it easier to define. It can also give a woman or girl a false perception of power because while she cannot control the internal pain, she can control the physical injuries she is inflicting on herself.
To learn about the different forms of self-harm, you can review information provided by the Mayo Clinic.
Effects of Self-Harm
Self-harm can cause more than just negative physical effects. It can also cause immense psychological distress. Additionally, the feelings of shame that women and girls may feel after engaging in self-harm can cause them to resort back to the behaviors, ultimately resulting in a dangerous cycle.
A few examples of the effects that can result from self-harm include:
- Permanent scarring
- Ongoing feelings of shame and embarrassment
- Social isolation
- Broken relationships
- Inability to focus
- Low self-esteem
- Suicidal ideation
How to Choose a Self-Harm Treatment Center
Getting self-harm treatment is extremely important. Not only does it allow women and girls to learn coping skills that can help them manage feelings of distress, but it can also let them explore some of the underlying reasons that may have impacted their decision to start harming themselves.
It is important that the self-harm treatment a woman or girl receives is individualized to meet her exact needs. It is also imperative that the treatment center she chooses offers the level of care that is most appropriate for where she is at in her recovery journey.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we provide residential self-harm treatment as well as treatment at the partial hospitalization level.
Our residential self-harm treatment offers care for adolescent girls ages 12-17 and women age 18 and older. Residents are welcomed into a safe and supportive environment where they can focus on their recovery from self-harm 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) provides daylong, structured self-harm treatment for women. At the end of the treatment day, women can choose to return home or take advantage of our on-campus housing options.
Types of Therapies Used to Treat Self-Harm
Everyone responds to treatment differently. For this reason, we take an individualized approach to the self-harm treatment we provide. Each woman or girl will receive an individualized treatment plan that will guide her through her time at our treatment center.
Examples of the types of therapies that will be part of your self-harm treatment plan include the following:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Group, individual, and family therapy sessions
- Experiential therapies
- Motivational interviewing
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- 12–Step recovery principles
Beginning the Self-Harm Treatment Process
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we know that it is important to make the beginning of your self-harm recovery journey as seamless as possible. You have made a brave decision in getting treatment, and we want to make sure that you are comfortable as you begin.
The following is a brief overview of what you can expect as you get started.
- You can call us at your convenience and we will do a prescreening assessment over the phone.
- We will explain our admissions process and answer any questions you may have.
- Once you arrive at our treatment center, we will introduce you to our staff and other residents.
- We will take time to help you become acclimated to the treatment environment so that you feel comfortable.
- You will complete psychological and medical evaluations.
- Working closely with one of our team members, you will receive an individualized treatment plan that will guide you throughout the course of your self-harm treatment.
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This content was reviewed and approved by the clinical staff at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.