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While self-injury is decreasing in numbers, 836,000 people still visited emergency rooms in 2011 for self-inflicted wounds. This is a huge number of people who need treatment for addiction and should seek help from self-injury treatment centers.

What is Self-Injury?

Self-injury is deliberately harming the surface of your body. It is not a suicide attempt although suicide can become a concern if this behavior is left untreated.

Those who hurt themselves this way report a sense of calmness, then guilt and shame. The act releases emotions and tension unhealthily, only to have these feelings return.

Types of Self-Injury

Self-Injury is usually done in private, in a bathroom or bedroom behind closed doors. Often the damage is done on areas of the body that will be covered by clothing. Often the injury will be done in a ritualistic or patterned manner.

  • Burning the skin
  • Carving words and symbols on the skin
  • Cutting the skin with sharp objects
  • Drinking harmful chemicals
  • Friction burns from a hot eraser
  • Hitting or punching body parts
  • Picking at wounds
  • Piercing the skin
  • Pulling out hair
  • Scratching

While tattoos and body piercing are not considered addictive behavior, it can be a symptom of self-injury when done to extremes and to inflict pain. Self-tattooing falls into this category.

New Patterns of Self-Injury

Social media has changed many ways of life and it has also added new signs of addiction. For those suffering from this addiction, the new form of abuse is digital self-injury, Digital Munchausen. People post embarrassing or critical information about themselves online under a pseudonym. Then they respond viciously with another fake name. This is an attempt to find attention or sympathy, often to cope with abuse.

What Causes Self-Injury?

All addiction has underlying cause.

  • Inability to communicate
  • Lack of coping skills
  • Mental illness
  • Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse

What to do if you Suspect Self-Injury?

Self-injury is an addiction. If you suspect a loved one is self-injuring, call self-injury treatment centers to get more information on treatment options.

Therapies at Self-Injury Treatment Centers

Self-injury treatment centers will offer therapies designed to build confidence and regulate emotions. Along with peer support groups and individual counseling, many offer acceptance and commitment therapy, life charting, motivational interviewing, behavior therapy, and harm reduction therapy.

Harm Reduction Therapy

Those who self-injure need to learn positive ways to soothe themselves when upset. This starts with naming and accepting feelings and learning tolerance in the present moment.

Sometimes, the urge of self-injury is still very strong during recovery treatment. Therapists at self-injury treatment centers may suggest alternatives to bodily harm.

  • If the client self-injures to calm down a therapist may suggest a massage or a hot bath.
  • When the client uses self-injury to express pain, they may journal or listen to expressive music instead.
  • If the client feels numb, he or she can chew on something with a strong flavor or take a cold shower.
  • When expressing anger, the client can punch a pillow or squish clay.

When to Seek Help

Self-injury is a serious addiction that can lead to life-threatening situations. If you think about or have harmed yourself, seek help at self-injury treatment centers. Call 888-811-2879 for more information.

If you have severely injured yourself or are thinking about suicide, call 911 now.

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