Teenage Self-Harming: What Can You Do About It?
Studies today suggest that self-harm has become more prevalent among teens all over the world. Despite the fact that self-harm is often carried out in secret, surveys and interviews in schools show that an increasing number of young people intentionally harm themselves by hitting objects, cutting, excessive body piercing, hair pulling, poisoning, extreme scratching and/or burning.
What is Self-harm?
Self-harm or self-injury is defined as inflicting bodily harm intentionally without meaning to commit suicide. Self-harm is also referred to as deliberate self-harm (DSH) or non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Self-harm is a complex and often premeditated act.
Individuals who do self-harm often use this in response to deeper issues that they may not be able to discuss openly. Different forms of self-harm are often done privately, and it is not unusual for the condition to exist for years without being discovered by others.
Reasons Behind Self-Harm
Teens and adolescents who intentionally hurt themselves may not do so with the intention of committing suicide. Many individuals who harm themselves will report that it is done as means of coping. One may inflict injury upon themselves in order to cope with issues they find difficult to deal with or to alleviate distressing feelings.
There are many reasons why teens engage in deliberate self-injury. A good many of those who have sought counseling say that self-injury numbs their distressing feelings and the gratifying relief it produces overrides the emotional pain they live with daily. Others say that the pain allows them to feel alive. Each individual who engages in self-injury may have a different motivation for it. This emphasizes the need for a truly personal approach in counseling individuals who engage in self-harm.
Symptoms of Self-Harm
Self-injury is often difficult to detect because it can be done secretly. It may be even more difficult to detect among teens today due to the prevalence of tattoos and other forms of adornment that can easily hide any telltale signs of self-harm.
As a parent, if you are afraid that your child is indulging in self-injury, be alert for burns or cut marks on your child’s arms, legs, or abdomen. Try to observe if there are changes in your child’s attitude towards privacy; individuals who engage in self-injury often lock themselves in their rooms or in the bathroom. Check clothes for signs of encrusted blood, and keep a look out for knives and/or razors in the bathroom or your child’s room.
Self-injury is not a behavior that teens will simply outgrow. It is an issue that needs to be resolved, and as a parent you may be able to help your child through this by seeking professional help. If you think your child is engaging in self-harm, take the first step to helping your child recover. Licensed, independently contracted counselors will provide the caring expertise your child needs. Call Carolina Counseling Services at Fuquay-Varina without delay and schedule your first appointment.
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