Friday, December 15

Self-Injury – How Can I Stop Hurting Myself?

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Generally, those who practice self-injury want to quit but find it difficult. This concluding article seeks to highlight how a self-injuring person can stop or quit this behavior, and treatment for self-injury.

Self-injury, as earlier explained in my previous article, can be seen as a behavior that over time becomes compulsive and addictive. Just as any other addiction, even though other people may reason the person should quit, most addicts have a hard time just saying ‘no’ to their behavior-even when they realize it is unhealthy.

In this regard, below are some helpful tips in dealing with someone who self-injures:

  •  Learn to understand that self-injury behavior is attempts to maintain a certain degree of control which in and of itself is a way of self-soothing.

  •  Endeavor to encourage expressions of emotions including anger.

  •  Make the person involve understand that you care about him or her and are always available to listen

  • Spend some quality time doing enjoyable activities together.

  • Offer to help find a therapist or support group.

  • Make no judgmental comments or tell the person to stop the self-injuring behavior-people who feel worthless and powerless are even more likely to self-injure.

The most associated danger with self-injury is that it tends to become an “addictive behavior” habit that is difficult to break, even when the individual wants to stop. As with other addictions, qualified professional help is almost always necessary. It is pertinent to find a therapist who understands this behavior and is not upset or repulsed by it. Enlisted below are treatments for self-injury:

  • A history of abuse or incest may be at the core of an individual’s self-injuring behavior, therapist addressing post-traumatic stress disorder such as “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing” (EMDR) may be helpful.

  • Cognitive-behavior therapy can be adopted to assist the person learn to recognize and address triggering feelings in healthier ways.

  • Other forms of self-relaxation techniques are helpful in reducing the stress and tension that often precede injuring incidents.

  • Group therapy may be helpful in decreasing shame associated with self-injury, and help to support healthy expressions of emotions.

  • In-patient hospitalization program with multi-disciplinary team approach may be required in severe cases.

  • In a situation of moderate severe depression or anxiety, an anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication may be used to reduce the impulsive urges to self-harm in response to stress, while other coping strategies are developed.

Conclusively, there is no one best way to treat self-injury. Treatment is tailored to specific issues and any related mental health conditions associated with the self-injurer. It can take time, hard work, and one’s desire to recover.


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