Therapy for Self-Harm: When to Seek Help


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Are you experiencing self-harming thoughts or behaviors? If so, it might be time to seek treatment. Self-harm can be dangerous, hurting your physical and mental condition. Though people who engage in self-harm often use it as a coping mechanism, it can actually make your mental health challenges worse. Fortunately, there are much healthier ways to improve your mental health. These include process-based therapy (PBT), which can be great for reducing self-harming patterns.

Deciding to seek help can be a big step. When considering your options, you may resist the idea of treatment. People dealing with mental health issues often minimize their condition. This means downplaying the actual severity of your mental health disorder in an effort to appear “normal” or “fine.” Minimizing your condition can have major negative consequences as it may prevent you from getting the treatment and support you need. To better identify your own condition, it can help to learn about the warning signs of risky behaviors like self-harm. Understanding the early warnings can empower you to seek help before your condition worsens. Early intervention often plays a pivotal role in improving a person’s mental health and overall quality of life.

Signs that you should seek therapy for self-harm

  • Increased depression or anxiety — Self-harm tends to develop due to existing mental health symptoms. In many cases, people who self-harm have major depressive disorder (MDD) or another mood disorder. Normal stress points and undiagnosed conditions often lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Being more aware of your emotional state can help you understand the source of negative behaviors. Have you recently felt more depressed or anxious? This uptick could be a driving factor behind your self-harming thoughts or behaviors. It’s essential for individuals who self-harm to seek help from mental health professionals. Doing so allows them to address the root causes of their behavior and develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  • Mood swings — Have you noticed major changes in your mood with no apparent cause? Rapid and intense mood shifts can be indicative of a greater underlying issue. Recognizing alterations in your behavior and emotional patterns can be essential when considering treatment. If significant mood swings are affecting your day-to-day life, it may be time to get help. Process-based therapy can be a great way to challenge and overcome negative patterns that result in mood swings.
  • Difficulty coping — Coping with mental health symptoms is not always easy. For people who self-harm, it can sometimes feel like the only option. If you feel other coping strategies have not yielded positive results, you may be at a greater risk of self-harming in the future. Unsuccessful attempts at self-help can demonstrate the importance of professional treatment. With treatment from mental health experts, you can experience the benefits of evidence-driven solutions.
  • Self-destructive activities — Sometimes self-harming behaviors aren’t obvious. While it is often associated with behaviors like cutting and burning, self-harm can be more subtle. Behaviors like picking at a wound or scratching your skin to intentionally cause pain are also self-harm. Engaging in risky activities that might get you hurt can also be a form of self-harm. If you are noticing these kinds of behaviors, seeking treatment is essential. 
  • Escalation of methods — Left untreated, self-harm tends to worsen over time. You may feel like past methods are no longer sufficient to cope with your thoughts and feelings. This can lead to an escalation of self-harm methods. Seeking psychotherapy and other forms of treatment at this point can be crucial to avoid serious injury. If your self-harming behaviors are becoming more frequent or intense, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible. Licensed clinical therapists can help de-escalate your situation and work with you to find long-term solutions.

Find holistic therapy for self-harming at Lightfully

With an effective and compassionate approach to mental wellness, Lightfully Behavioral Health can provide the treatment you need. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. We treat each client as a person, not a diagnosis. Through one-on-one sessions with a licensed clinical therapist, you can receive guidance and treatment tailored to your condition and goals. You can work with us to curb your self-harming behaviors and find safer, more fulfilling ways to cope.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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