Self-harm itself is not a mental health disorder, but it is a clinical term that must be taken very seriously. In addition to the potential damage self-harm can inflict on a person, it can also be a symptom of other mental health concerns.
Self-harm describes a variety of different behaviors that involve intentionally harming your own body to cope with emotional pain, severe anger, or other difficult-to-control feelings. Many people often associate self-harm with cutting with a sharp object, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, but that’s just one way this dangerous act can manifest.
Hurting yourself, or even thinking of hurting yourself, is a sign of severe emotional distress. But self-harm is a treatable condition. And the sooner you receive self-harm treatment, the sooner you can begin to reduce your risk for dangerous consequences as a result of these behaviors.
Tower Behavioral Health provides inpatient self-harm treatment for adults age 18 and older of all genders. Don’t allow yourself to go another day with thoughts of harming yourself. We’re here to help you find a renewed sense of peace and meaning.
Signs & Symptoms of Self-Harm
Self-harm signs and symptoms can vary considerably depending on a variety of factors: age and personality, whether there is an underlying mental health condition, and the specific form of self-harm you’ve engaged in.
Additionally, self-harm is a practice in which a person often goes to great lengths to conceal injuries. Generally speaking, however, the following are some of the most noticeable signs and symptoms of self-harm:
- Keeping sharp objects or lighters nearby
- Frequent agitation
- Routinely isolating
- Wearing long sleeves or pants even in warm weather
- Broken bones with little to no explanation of how they happened
- Acting out impulsively or unpredictably
- Scars, some of which occur in visible patterns
- Areas of missing hair
- Impaired motor skills
- Inability to maintain focus
Any of these self-harm signs and symptoms must be taken seriously. Even if a person doesn’t intend to inflict permanent damage on themselves, the possibility of significant injury exists until they seek self-harm treatment from a qualified professional.
At Tower Behavioral Health in Reading, Pennsylvania, we will administer a complimentary assessment to identify the symptoms you’re suffering from and determine which level of self-harm care is best suited to your needs.
Self-harm occurs most often during the teenage and young adult years, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), but it can also happen later in life. Those most at risk are people who have experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma.
Here are some other statistics about the prevalence of self-harm:
- According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the lifetime self-harm rate in American adults is around 5% — far lower than the adolescent rate of around 17%.
- The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that women are more likely to use cutting to self-harm, while men are more likely to use burning or hitting.
- NIMH also finds that most people who engage in self-harming behaviors do not intend to end their own life, contrary to popular belief.
Potential Effects of Self-Harm
Many associate self-harm with physical consequences, but it can have intense psychological ramifications as well.
Self-harm can also be a vicious cycle. The feelings of guilt or shame a person may have after engaging in self-harm often lead them back to those same behaviors.
Some examples of the dangerous effects self-harm can have include:
- Social isolation
- Low self-esteem
- Constant shame and embarrassment
- Permanent scarring
- Broken relationships
- Onset or worsening of symptoms of a mental health condition
- Abuse of alcohol or other substances
- Suicidal ideation
- Chronic unemployment
- Financial ruin
These outcomes are not guaranteed, but the longer you let self-harm go untreated, the greater the risk is for these types of consequences. By receiving treatment for self-harm at Tower Behavioral Health, you can reduce any negative effects already incurred and stop the possibility of additional short- and long-term damage.
You have the power to manage the symptoms you’re experiencing and regain control of your life.
Why Choose Our Self-Harm Treatment Center
Self-harm can be an isolating condition. You may find yourself going to great lengths to hide both the physical and emotional scars you’re carrying with you.
That’s why one of the most important elements of self-harm treatment is the ability to understand that you’re not alone. At Tower Behavioral Health, you’ll work with a self-harm treatment team that has helped other patients overcome similar struggles. You’ll also meet patients who are currently grappling with the same condition and can relate to all the ups and downs you’ve faced.
Inpatient treatment for self-harm at our facility in Reading, Pennsylvania, gives you the opportunity to leave behind all the concerns that have risen to the surface of your day-to-day life. When you heal at Tower Behavioral Health, you’re able to leave those problems at the door and simply focus on you.
Our professional self-harm treatment team will provide a plan specifically catered to you. You’ll complete a thorough assessment that will form the basis of your unique self-harm treatment plan prior to admission, and you’ll benefit from a thorough discharge plan at the end of your time with us that will set you up to succeed in the days, weeks, and months to come.
Therapies Used in Self-Harm Treatment
All self-harm programming at Tower Behavioral Health reflects your personalized treatment plan so that we can help you manage your symptoms in the way that’s most beneficial to you.
To make sure that we’re meeting your needs in the most efficient way possible, we use a variety of therapeutic modalities in self-harm treatment. During your time with us, you may engage in:
- Motivational interviewing
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Our self-harm treatment services feature a broad range of clinical interventions that are designed to help with a number of different challenges. Depending on your specific needs, these might include:
- Music, art, and dance/movement therapies
- Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
- Group therapy
- Family meetings
- Individual therapy
- Medication management services
No one deserves to suffer from the physical or psychological ramifications of self-harm. The good news is that you don’t have to. Tower Behavioral Health can help you manage feelings of distress, explore the underlying reasons that have led you to these behaviors, and get your symptoms under control.
The happier, healthier life you deserve is out there waiting for you. We’ll help you find the way.
This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Tower Behavioral Health.