People often keep self-harming behaviors a secret. They wear clothes to cover their bodies and may be socially withdrawn. However, the urge to self-harm isn’t uncommon and many overcome it with treatment.
Often, self-injury is a sign of additional conditions that need to be addressed. Reach out for help if you are injuring yourself or have thoughts of harming yourself. Talking to a doctor or someone you trust is a big first step and puts you on the path for successful treatment.
Banner Health is a leader in providing supportive, caring mental health treatment. Our professional staff helps patients in intense emotional or physical pain and their families find relief. Our mental health care team consists of doctors, nurses, clinical care managers and behavioral health technicians. Each patient’s treatment plan is customized to address their specific needs. To get started on your path to recovery, call the Banner Appointment Line at 1 (800) 254-4357 or (602) 254-4357.
If you or a loved one is self-harming or appears in severe emotional distress, call Banner Health at 1 (800) 254-4357 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has behavior health specialists who can help 24 hours a day.
Self-harm or self-injury is a non-suicidal, deliberate act of harming your body. Patients may cut, burn or scratch to bring a momentary release to cope with overwhelming feelings. However, after self-harming, patients often feel guilt and shame, and their painful emotions return and even worsen.
While the intent of self-harm is not to cause life-threatening injury, it still carries serious complications, including:
Although self-injury is usually not a suicide attempt, the pattern of damaging the body in times of distress can make suicide more likely.
Getting appropriate treatment can help you or your loved one learn healthier ways to cope. Recovery is possible.
Patients who self-harm usually do so in private and precise ways. It’s often done on the arms, legs and torso. Sometimes, self-harm is only inflicted a few times, but it can turn into a long-term condition.
Examples of self-injury include:
While each patient’s reason for self-injury is different, in general it’s to:
Factors that may increase the risk of self-injury include:
Offering or seeking help is the best way to reduce the risk of someone self-injuring.
For patients, learning healthy coping skills, forming social connections and talking about negative influences can help on the road to recovery and reduce the impulse to self-harm.
Signs and symptoms of self-harming disorder and behavior include:
Diagnosing self-harming behavior is based on a physical and psychological evaluation.
Your doctor will generally begin with an evaluation for suicidal tendencies and by treating any physical injuries. Next, your doctor may ask questions about your health history, including how you feel when you self-harm, how long you’ve been self-harming and what types of injuries you’ve inflicted. If the doctor suspects underlying mental health conditions or a risk for suicide, additional assessments may be needed to build the most effective treatment plan.
Often, self-harm behaviors are rooted in painful emotions. It can be daunting to address the reasons at the core of self-injury. It can be difficult to break the cycle. Banner Health’s team of experienced doctors, nurses and mental health specialists are dedicated to providing compassionate, confidential care to patients and their families.
Banner Health’s behavioral health care team works with you and your family to develop a treatment plan customized to your specific needs. Our staff are experienced in treating patients who self-injure.
Self-harm can become a major part of your life. Treating your self-injury behavior takes time and hard work. And, with the right support, recovery is possible.
In general, self-harming behaviors are treated using:
If you or a loved one needs help coping, Banner Health offers education and support resources. Learning about self-harm behaviors, triggers and treatment as well as talking to others who've gone through what you're going through can help. Banner Health has counselors, therapists and support groups for patients and parents, family members or friends of people who self-injure.