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Self-Harm and Self-Harm Cuts, Warning Signs and Treatment


What is Self-Harm?

Self harm is a serious issue affecting individuals of various ages and backgrounds. It refers to deliberately harming oneself to cope with emotional pain, distress, or overwhelming feelings. One common form of self-harm is self-harm cuts, which involve intentionally cutting or injuring the skin. This article aims to provide insight into the warning signs of self-harm and self-harm cuts and explore the available treatment options for those who engage in self-harming behaviors.

How Do People Self-Harm?

Most acts of self-harm occur in secret. A pattern is often left on the skin because the process is controlled or repeated similarly. Forms of self harm behaviors can include:

  • One of the most common methods is using a sharp object to cut, scratch, or stab the victim.
  • Burning as self harm like matches, cigarettes, or knives, are used to start a fire.
  • Tattooing a message or symbol onto one’s body.
  • Striking oneself with a fist, fists, a bit, or a hammer.
  • Sharp objects are being used to pierce the skin.
  • Subcutaneous implantation of devices.
  • The most common areas of the body to inflict self-harm are the arms, legs, chest, and belly. However, it is possible to target any body part, sometimes with more than one technique.

Sadness can bring on the urge to hurt oneself. When people self injure, they often only do it a few times before stopping. However, for some people, self-harm is a recurring issue.

When to See a Doctor

Get help if you’re hurting yourself, even if it’s just a little bit, or if you’re thinking about doing so. Intentional harm to oneself, in any form, is a symptom of underlying problems that must be addressed.

Reach out to someone you can confide in, whether a close friend or family member, a medical professional, a religious figure, a school counselor, a nurse, or a teacher. They will be able to guide you through the preliminary stages of treatment. Even if you’re experiencing feelings of guilt and embarrassment about your actions, some people want to help and won’t pass judgment.

How to Stop Self Harm Cuts?

Professional help and better coping skills can stop self-harm cuts. Helpful steps:

  • Discuss your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or mental health professional. Sharing your problems can help you feel less alone.
  • Seek professional help: Talk to a self-harm therapist or counselor who can help you recover. They can help you understand self-harm and find alternative coping mechanisms.
  • Learn healthier coping skills with a therapist. This may involve learning relaxation techniques, mindfulness, creative outlets, or finding joy and fulfillment.
  • Build a support network: Find people who can encourage and hold you accountable in your recovery. Support groups and online communities can help you find others with similar struggles.
  • Plan safety: Create a safety plan with your mental health professional. This plan may include identifying triggers, developing alternative coping strategies, and creating a list of emergency contacts to call in need.
  • Eliminate triggers and self-harm tools: Dispose of sharp objects or ask a trusted person to keep them away.
  • Self-care: Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise, and relax. Taking care of your body and mind can help you stay balanced.

Why People Self-harm

Self-injury is a coping mechanism employed by those experiencing severe emotional pain or distress. Self-harm is not a healthy way to deal with problems but a destructive coping mechanism. Self-injury can occur for many different reasons.

  • Emotional regulation: Self-harm can temporarily relieve intense emotions and distract from emotional pain or numbness.
  • Self-punishment or self-blame: Guilt, shame, or low self-esteem can lead to self-harm.
  • Expression: Self-harm can help people express their inner turmoil when words fail.
  • Control: Self-harm can give people a sense of control when they feel out of control.
  • Trauma: Trauma survivors may self-harm to cope with distressing memories, flashbacks, or dissociation.
  • Attention-seeking: Some people self-harm to get support for their emotional issues.

Who to Call if You Need Help?

We understand that seeking help can be difficult, but please know you don’t have to go through this alone. If you’re unsure where to turn, you can contact the S.A.F.E. Alternatives information line in the U.S. at 1-800-366-8288 (self harm hotline). They can provide you with referrals and support for cutting and self-harm. Remember, there is always help available to you.

 You’re not alone, and there are resources available to help you. If you need immediate assistance, please consider reading Suicide Help or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255. They are there to support you and provide guidance during this difficult time.

Self Harm Facts

The term self-harm is commonly used to describe a wide range of behaviors and intentions, including attempted hanging, impulsive self-poisoning, and superficial cutting in response to intolerable tension. Risk factors include socioeconomic disadvantage and psychiatric illness—particularly depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. Assessment after self-harm includes careful consideration of the patient’s intent and beliefs about the lethality of the method used. Strong suicidal intent, high lethality, precautions against being discovered, and psychiatric illness indicate high suicide risk. 


What is Self-Injury?

Self-injury is a type of self-harm that refers to deliberately causing pain or damage to your body without suicidal intent. Self-injury is more common in young people. Some people who self-harm may also have suicidal thoughts.

Common forms include cutting, severe scratching, burning, and banging or hitting; most self-injure individuals have used multiple methods. Although diagnostically heterogeneous, self-injurers typically exhibit two prominent characteristics: negative emotionality and self-derogation. Self-injury is most often performed to alleviate intense negative emotions temporarily. Still, it may also express self-directed anger or disgust, influence or seek help from others, end periods of dissociation or depersonalization, and help resist suicidal thoughts.

Who Self-Injures?

Interestingly, while it is common for people to assume that NSSI is more common in women, general population studies find equivalent rates between men and women. However, there does appear to be a sex difference regarding the methods of NSSI used; specifically, women are more likely to use cutting, whereas men are more likely to use hitting or burning.

Finally, 2 other sociodemographic trends have been repeatedly noted. NSSI appears to be more common among people who report non-heterosexual orientations (for example, homosexual, bisexual, and questioning), and among Caucasians than non-Caucasians.-injury is a type of self-harm and refers to deliberately causing pain or damage to your own body without suicidal intent. Self-injury is more common in young people. Some people who self-harm may also have suicidal thoughts.

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Self Harm Statistics

Nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) is typically associated with emotional and psychiatric distress. It is most common among young adults. Lifetime rates in these populations are about 15% to 20%, and onset typically occurs around age 13 or 14. In contrast, about 6% of adults report a history of NSSI. It is unclear whether the lower lifetime rate in adults reflects an increase in NSSI among recent cohorts of adolescents or an artifact of memory by which most adults who self-injured as adolescents do not recall their NSSI. Generally speaking, rates of NSSI appear to be similar across different countries.


5%

More than 5% of people seen at a hospital after self-harm will have committed suicide within 9 years.

Source: NCBI

50%

About 50% of people seek help for their self-harm but only from friends instead of professionals

Source: NCBI

45%

45% of people use cutting as their method of self-injury

Source: NCBI


Warning Signs of Self Harm

People who self-injure frequently attempt to conceal their actions from others. Even the most cautious individuals frequently leave behind some sort of evidence. Here are some red flags that suggest someone is hurting themselves:

  • People who self-injure frequently attempt to conceal their actions from others. Even the most cautious individuals frequently leave behind some sort of evidence. Here are some red flags that suggest someone is hurting themselves:
  • Suspicious wounds: the individual may suffer from a history of cuts and bruises that they consistently attribute to “accidents.”
  • Stash of tools: Someone may collect needles or bottle caps. They may also use an unusually high volume of razors.
  • Blood stains on belongings: Blood from the self-harm behavior may stain a person’s towels, clothing, or bedding. There could be numerous used bandages and bloody tissues in the trash.
  • Concealing clothing: The person may wear long sleeves or pants to cover scars, even during the hot weather.
  • Isolation: A person may shut themself in a bedroom or bathroom for long periods to self-injure in private. They may stop going out with friends and family and isolate themselves.

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Self Harm Cuts and Self Harm Scars

Self harm cuts and self harm scars are physical manifestations of the act of self-harming. Self-harm is a complex issue involving deliberately injuring oneself to cope with emotional pain, stress, or distress. While self-harm may temporarily alleviate intense emotions, it can lead to long-lasting physical and emotional consequences.

Self harm cuts typically involve intentionally cutting or scratching the skin using sharp objects. These cuts can vary in severity, from superficial scratches to deeper wounds. Self-harm is often done in private, and individuals may attempt to conceal the evidence of their self-harming behaviors.

As a result of repeated self-harm, scars may develop over time. These self harm scars can serve as a reminder of past pain and struggle. They can range in appearance from faint lines to more prominent and visible marks on the skin. It is important to note that self-harm scars are not a sign of weakness or attention-seeking but rather an indication of underlying emotional distress.

Self harm cuts and self harm scars can significantly impact individuals emotionally and psychologically. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or stigmatized by their visible scars, leading to isolation and self-judgment. It is important to approach individuals with empathy and compassion, understanding that self-harm is a coping mechanism rather than a deliberate attempt to cause harm to oneself.

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Our treatment program is designed to help people figure out why they hurt themselves and give them good ways to heal.
Our treatment program is designed to help people figure out why they hurt themselves and give them good ways to heal.

Treatment for Self Harming: Finding Healing and Recovery at We Level Up WA

At We Level Up WA, we know that hurting yourself can be very upsetting and hard to deal with. We are here to help people stop hurting themselves and find better ways to deal with emotional pain through a supportive and all-around treatment plan.

Our treatment program is designed to help people figure out why they hurt themselves and give them good ways to heal. We offer a variety of therapies and interventions that have been proven to work and are given by a team of skilled and caring professionals.

  • Individual Therapy: During individual therapy, people can talk about their feelings, triggers, and deeper problems that lead to self-harming behaviors in a safe and private setting. Through cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and trauma-focused approaches, we help people develop healthier ways to deal with problems and become more resilient.
  • Group therapy is a way for people going through hard times to connect with others who have been through the same things. Sharing experiences, learning from each other, and getting help from others can all help people improve. Our group therapy sessions help people feel like they belong and build a community of people who understand and support each other.
  • Skill-Building Workshops: We offer skill-building workshops that help people learn healthy ways to deal with problems, control their emotions, deal with stress, and be more mindful. These workshops give people useful tools they can use in their everyday lives to deal with hard feelings and situations without hurting themselves.
  • We think it’s important for family members to be involved in the treatment process. Our family therapy sessions are meant to help people who hurt themselves and their loved ones talk to each other better, strengthen their relationships, and get help. Family involvement can help with a fuller and more long-lasting recovery.
  • Support after the program is over: Our help doesn’t end when the program is done. We help people keep their progress and from falling back into old habits through aftercare. This could include ongoing therapy sessions, support groups, and other tools to help the person adjust to life after treatment.

At We Level Up WA, we treat people who hurt themselves with compassion, understanding, and a commitment to giving each person the care they need. We aim to help people find their inner strength, become more resilient, and learn better ways to deal with problems. If you or someone you care about is struggling with self-harm, we are here to help you heal and get better.

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  1. how to get rid of self harm scars?

    While the complete removal of self-harm scars may not be possible, there are options to promote healing and minimize their appearance. Topical treatments like creams and gels, medical procedures such as laser therapy, and scar camouflage products can help soften and fade the scars. It’s best to consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for personalized recommendations and guidance.

  2. How to help someone who self harms?

    Being patient and encouraging can be very helpful to someone engaging in self-harm. Learn as much as you can about self-harm, listen without passing judgment, and push for them to get help if they need it. Avoid criticism and ultimatums and instead focus on providing constructive ways to cope. Encourage self-care and make your own health a top priority.

  3. Is self harm addictive?

    Self-harm behavior can develop into a repetitive pattern, and, for some individuals, it may become addictive. The act of self-harm can provide temporary relief or a sense of control, which can reinforce the behavior. Additionally, self-harm can trigger the release of endorphins, which can create a pleasurable sensation. Over time, this cycle of relief and reward can contribute to the addictive nature of self-harm. It is important to seek professional help to address the underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies.

  4. What are alternatives to self harm?

    Seek support from trusted individuals, engage in creative outlets, practice relaxation techniques, stay physically active, and practice self-care.

Signs of Depression Video

There are many resources available to help you better manage your mental health. Your first step should be to reach out to your physician or a mental health professional for a thorough evaluation. Additionally, you may want to consider joining a support group, such as a 12-step program, or an online support community to help you connect with others facing similar challenges. In addition, many self-help techniques are available, such as mindfulness, relaxation, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Support and understanding from your friends and family can also be tremendously beneficial in helping you manage your depression. It can be helpful to speak openly with them about how you’re feeling and the challenges you’re facing. Additionally, it can be a useful strategy to identify activities and people that positively influence your mental health and seek them out whenever you feel overwhelmed by depression.

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Begin with a free call to a behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

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Sources

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[6] Evidence reviews for supporting people to be safe after self-harm: Self-harm: assessment, management and preventing recurrence: Evidence review N. London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE); 2022 Sep. (NICE Guideline, No. 225.) Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK588194/

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