Cutting And Self-Injury: Warning Signs And How To Help

by apfotos / 10 June 2018 / No Comments

November 27, 2017

Unfortunately, self-injury and addiction often go hand-in-hand. Self-injury refers to a person harming his/her own body on purpose. It’s also called “self-harm,” self-mutilation or self-abuse and it tends to begin in teen or early adult years. Some even say substance abuse is a form of self-harm, leading to physical and mental effects.

Roughly 15 percent of teens report some form of self-injury and college students have even higher rates – 17 percent to 35 percent, according to MHA. Rates of self-harm are also high among those in treatment for mental health problems, including trauma and PTSD.

Some people may engage in self-harm a few times while others engage in it more often and have trouble stopping. The behavior is most often not intended to be lethal. Most individuals who engage in non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) hurt themselves in more than one way:

  • Skin cutting (70 percent to 90 percent)
  • Head banging or hitting (21 percent to 44 percent)
  • Burning (15 percent to 35 percent)
  • Excessive scratching (to the point of drawing blood)
  • Punching self or objects
  • Infecting oneself
  • Inserting objects into body openings
  • Drinking something harmful (like bleach or detergent
  • Breaking bones purposefully

The Warning Signs of Self-Injury
There are warning signs that someone you care about may be injuring themselves and include:

  • Unexplained frequent injuries including cuts and burns
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty handling feelings
  • Relationship problems or avoidance of relationships, and
  • Poor functioning at work, school or home
  • Attempt to conceal bruises, scabs or scars (for example, wearing long sleeves and pants in hot weather)
  • Excuses as to how an injury happened (for instance, “I fell” or “The cat scratched me.”)
  • Constantly wearing wristbands, large watchbands or large bracelets
  • Frequent bandages or other methods of covering wounds
  • Odd or unexplainable paraphernalia, such as razor blades or needles
  • Unwillingness to participate in activities that expose the body, such as swimming

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment at Elm Tree
If someone you love is suffering from self-injury and substance abuse, the best thing you can do is to encourage him or her to get help. Our treatment programs empower clients with tools to live a healthy and sober life. We also help you rediscover learning and return to college, go to trade school or get your GED. To learn more, call today: 800-356-7497.