Understanding Self Injurious Behaviors in Teens
Self-harm refers to deliberately hurting oneself to relieve emotional pain or distress. Self-harm is far more common than most parents suspect, with an average of one in four girls and one in ten boys under the age of 18 taking part in this type of behavior. While we’re still learning more about mental illness and its relationship to self-harm, self-injurious behavior is not considered a mental illness. Instead, it’s thought to be a poor coping mechanism.
You want your child to be as happy and healthy as possible. If they’re self-harming, something is wrong, and we understand that you want to help. At Ascend Healthcare, our self-harm treatment for teens addresses self-harm warning signs, cutting behavior treatment, and more. Read on today to learn about the causes of teenage self-harm and what you can do to make a difference in your child’s life.
Causes Of Teenage Self-Harm
Many adolescents today have difficulty coping with extreme levels of stress in school, with their families, and in their social relationships. As with substance abuse, adolescent self-harming behavior has no one single cause. Although it seems counterintuitive, self-harming behavior can produce endorphins which can provide numbing or pleasurable sensations. Like addiction to a particular drug, the endorphin “high” provides fast-acting relief for adolescents from their emotional distress and other stressors in their lives.
Teenagers who self-harm are not generally looking for a way to end their lives, and very rarely is self-injury a bid for attention. These teens are actually looking for a way to end emotional pain. Some have found that hurting themselves brings their anxiety and stress down to a manageable level. Self-injury for these teens is a way to stay alive. Many teens who self harm express:
- Feeling emotionally disconnected from peers and parents
- Feeling invalidated by their parents
- Wanting to “fit in” within a particular peer group that encourages self-harming behavior
- Feeling emotionally dead inside
- Feeling invisible to parents and peers
Self-harm treatment for teens at Ascend can help your child discover better coping mechanisms to help them navigate life’s toughest moments. Ascend’s behavior treatment for cutting, burning, bruising, and other forms of self harm focuses on blending evidence-based and experiential therapies for a personalized program specially created for your child.
Self-Harm Warning Signs & Symptoms
The most common forms of self-injury are cutting and burning, but if you’re thinking of enrolling your child in behavior treatment for cutting and self-harm, you should also be looking for other signs including:
- Marks on arms, legs, and abdomen
- Wearing long sleeves or pants regardless of the season
- Avoiding exposure of certain body parts
- Wearing inches of bracelets or bands to cover arms
- Finding hidden knives, razor blades, box cutters, & other sharp objects
- Regularly locking themselves in a private space for long periods of time
- Teen’s peers who cut or burn themselves
It can be hard to assess your teen’s behavior, so you can always turn to the expert team who work in our self-harm treatment program for teens for advice and support.
Teen Self-Harm Treatment at Ascend
Whether your teen needs behavior treatment for cutting, burning, or other forms of self-harm, Ascend Healthcare has the experience and know-how to help. Our admissions assessment provides a thorough look into the stressors in your child’s life, their health history, and home situation to develop a comprehensive plan to address all of their, and your, concerns. Reach out to Ascend today at 310.388.3713 for additional details about our residential and teen programs.