Elk River Teen Treatment Program

Self Harm & Cutting

Residential Treatment for Teens that Self-Harm

Self-Harm & Cutting Treatment Center

Self-harm is the act of injuring your skin deliberately. People who self-harm use techniques such as the cutting or burning of the skin because they have no other way to manage an intense amount of emotional pain. If a person feels lonely, angry, or guilty, or if they have low self-esteem, high anxiety, or difficulty communicating their feelings to others, then they may be at risk for self-injury. 

Cutting is only a temporary solution for reducing their distress, and people often feel guilt or shame afterwards. People who self-injury may feel that the physical pain they cause is the only thing they have control over in their life, and they may believe that feeling pain is better than being emotionally numb. 

Self-injury can result in a number of problems, such as permanent scaring, infection, and causing underlying issues that led to cutting to become worse. Though people who self-injure are not trying to commit suicide, there is always a risk of possible fatality when cutting or hurting oneself by other means. Therefore it’s important to recognize the risks and signs of self-harm as early as possible.

Most people who engage in self-harm are teenagers or young adults. People who experienced trauma as a child, such as physical or sexual abuse, are also at greater risk. Young people who have friends who cut or self-injure, or teenagers who are more socially isolated, are also more likely to self-harm.  

Common signs of self-injury can include: 

  • New cuts or bruises
  • Scars from old cuts
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
  • Emotional instability
  • Keeping sharp objects in their room
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants
  • Engaging in impulsive behaviors
  • Rubbing or picking at skin

Sometimes people also choose different ways to self-harm without cutting. Examples might include scratching, picking at wounds, pulling out hair, burning the skin, hitting or punching, or piercing the skin. People who self harm may engage in several different types of these behaviors to hurt themselves.

Self-Harm Treatment

Treating an addiction to cutting or self-injury takes time and patience. Treatment often focuses the issues that led to self-harm, such as depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. Because many teenagers rely on self-injury to cope with intense stress, they must learn other ways to face challenges in life and heal from past trauma. This healing can happen in individual therapy, group therapy, or a specialized residential program such as a self-harm treatment center. 

Interventions at a self-harm treatment center often focus on identifying the root causes behind the self harm behavior, building skills to better manage anxiety or stress, and strengthening skills for solving problems. Cutting treatment can also help young people grow their self-esteem, build healthy relationships, and regulate their emotions when they feel depressed or angry.  

What Can I Do Today For My Child? 

Be informed – Learn what you can about self-injury and what promotes and deters this dangerous behavior. Do your best to keep your son or daughter from visiting websites that glamorize self-injury or teach them ways to self-harm without pain or without cutting. Teach yourself about potential coping strategies that can help your child feel healthier, relaxed, and more prepared for stressful situations. 

Find help – Talk to your doctor or a mental health professional about what options might be best for your son or daughter. You might find local support group for kids or for parents of children to self-harm, or you might decide that long-term self-harm treatment for your child is the best option. Never feel like you have to make this decision without input from professionals and without the support of others. 

Show love – Above all, try your best to refrain from criticizing or lecturing your child about their cutting or self-injury. Ultimatums or threats may only increase anxiety and exaggerate the behavior. Communicate to your son or daughter that you want to understand the pain they experience, what prompts their self-injury, and how you can help them find positive ways to heal.