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Self-injury disorder can be defined as an act of harming the surface of one’s body as a means to cope with frustration, anger or emotional pain. The behavior of inflicting shallow, but painful cuts to the surface of the skin is an effort on the self-injurer’s part to minimize or overcome negative emotions. For some, self-injury might be considered as an act of self-punishment.
The act may generate a momentary sense of calmness and help release tension, it is usually followed by guilt, shame and a return of painful emotions. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), not a mental illness in itself, various mental illnesses, including depression, eating disorders, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are associated with self-harm.
Used as a coping mechanism, those who engage in self-injury are more likely to commit suicide, though the acts of self-injury and suicide can be carried out for completely different reasons. There is no best way to treat self-injuring behavior, thus, treatment for self-injury at certified self-injury treatment centers in Los Angeles, California, takes into account the issues affecting the individual along with the underlying mental health problem. A comprehensive treatment may involve medication and psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), individual and group therapies.
Self-injury is an act that usually occurs in private, controlled and ritualistic manner. Individuals who indulge in self-injury may use more than one method to harm himself or herself and use any area of the body to inflict the pain. Common areas for self-injury tend to be located on tops of thighs or the dorsal side of the forearm. In some extreme cases, they can be found all over the body. The most common methods to inflict self-injury involves using knives and lit cigarette ends.
Self-harm behavior is commonly observed during teenage and young adult years, but the behavior can even occur later in life. Individuals who face trauma, neglect or abuse in their lives are at high risk of suffering from this disorder. Compared to other mental health disorders, individuals with PTSD and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are more likely to engage in self-harm. Studies also show that females are more likely to engage in self-injury compared to males.
Also known as self-harm, self-cutting, or mutilation, self-injury can include the following behaviors:
People with self-injury disorder will report a sensation of relief that occurs during or after the act, which can be quite dangerous. For some, self-injury can become a craving, as it generates an abnormal sense of satisfaction. On the other hand, the action could also be thought of as a way to self-punish when a person feels that he or she deserves harm. Some common risk factors to consider include low self-worth/self-esteem and isolation.
Some of the signs and symptoms of self-injury include the following:
While no single cause is known to be solely responsible for causing self-injury disorder, non-suicidal self-injury may be as a result of the inability to cope with psychological pain. The behavior may also be depicted in individuals who find it hard to express, understand and regulate their emotions. By inflicting harm upon themselves, these individuals are able to feel a sense of control, express their feelings, manage distress and communicate their distressful feelings to the outside world.
In addition to age factor, mental health issues like BPD, anxiety disorders, PTSD, depression and eating disorders may trigger self-injury behavior. Environmental factors like social isolation, traumatic events or being surrounded by people already suffering from the disorder can also contribute to the development of self-injury behavior.
It’s highly recommended that people indulging in self-injury behavior receive inpatient treatment. Depending on one’s diagnosis, various psychotherapeutic modalities could benefit an individual indulging in self-injury. According to the NAMI, treatment methods for self-injury may include psychotherapies such as CBT, DBT and psychodynamic therapy.
A form of depth psychology, psychodynamic therapy focuses on the unconsciousness processes manifested in one’s present behavior and focuses on exploring past emotions and experiences. In addition to psychodynamic therapy, CBT sessions help an individual identify false beliefs, negative thoughts, along with providing a way to understand how thoughts can trigger harmful behavior. While psychotherapy sessions encourage patients to explore past experiences and emotions, DBT sessions can help a patient learn positive coping methods.
There is no prescribed medication to treat self-injury disorder, and as per some practitioners, it may not be a good idea to prescribe medications to those indulging in self-injury unless they suffer from a co-occurring disorder. In case of underlying illnesses, medication may be prescribed to help tackle difficult emotions.
At Sovereign Mental Health Group, we offer a comprehensive and holistic treatment for self-injury disorder as well as any other underlying mental health or substance use disorder. Through customized treatment plan, Sovereign Mental Health is able to focus on the individual needs of each patient and provide them with treatment best suited to their specific circumstances.
Our team of trained clinicians and psychologists utilize top-notch treatment methods to help patients take the path to recovery. In addition to traditional modes of therapy, Sovereign Mental Health’s self-injury treatment centers in Los Angeles, California, also offer experiential therapies like meditation, yoga, equine therapy, art therapy and music therapy.
Dedicated to providing the highest level of care, all our patients’ are provided with comprehensive and holistic treatment in a private, safe and calm environment. For more information on our integrated mental health treatment programs or to locate our state-of-the-art treatment facilities near you, please call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with our representatives for any further assistance.
Sovereign Health Group is a residential rehabilitation treatment provider that has programs and services devoted to mental health conditions. To learn more about our continuum of care, speak with one of our expert treatment consultants and begin the journey to recovery today!
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