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Unveiling the Long-Term Impact of Self-Harm: Insights and Understanding

Self-harm is an extremely complex issue that can have lasting effects. Understanding the long-term impact of self-harm can go a long way in helping people heal their physical and emotional wounds.

Self-Harm: A Complex Condition

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), self-harm “refers to when a person hurts their own body on purpose.” When most think of “self-harm,” cutting may come to mind. However, self-harm can include any form of self-injury, including hitting, punching, and even burning.

Self-harm is common in adolescents. People who do it usually do not intend to kill themselves. Even so, they are still at a higher risk of attempting or dying by suicide if they don’t seek help.

Why People Turn To Self-Harm

Heightened emotions and the inability to regulate them often lead to self-harm. This can be especially true for teenagers who are trying to navigate their emotions and hormones for the first time in their lives.

Childhood trauma, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and psychiatric conditions can also lead to some form of self-injury. Many who engage in self-harm also report that they do it in an effort to feel anything other than numb.

Emotion Regulation and Self-Punishment

According to a 2014 research review published in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) “most commonly functions to (temporarily) alleviate overwhelming negative emotion.” The article notes that this reason is reported by the majority of people who self-harm.

Intense negative emotions usually come before one engages in NSSI. The action of NSSI then brings about a feeling of calm and relief while reducing negative emotions.

Another reason for self-harm is the desire to act out self-directed anger or self-punishment. The authors of the aforementioned article stated that more than half of people who have self-harmed report self-punishment as a reason. This type of self-harm usually occurs when one is overly self-critical or hard on themselves.

Self-Harm and Trauma

Childhood trauma, including growing up in a chaotic or unstable environment, may play an important role in the development of self-harm. People who inflict pain on themselves are usually extremely self-critical and have low self-esteem. This may be a result of growing up in an environment where punishment was the norm.

Other traumas like bullying can also lead people to feel as though they are worthless. They may turn to self-harm as a way to punish themselves or process the strong emotions that accompany traumatic experiences.

Childhood Trauma

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), self-harm is “most often related to going through trauma in childhood rather than as an adult.” Higher rates of PTSD and other mental health issues occur in those who self-harm.

The VA also mentions that in people who self-harm, there is a high prevalence of childhood abuse and emotional neglect. Separation anxiety, codependency, and growing up with adults who couldn’t regulate their own emotions could also lead to self-harm.

The Impact of Self-Harm and Its Effects

When it comes to the impact of self-harm, the effects can be vast. Many people who engage in it may feel shame or embarrassment, and therefore they are reluctant to seek help. This can lead someone to continue having low self-esteem well after the act of self-harm is over.

According to Academic Pediatrics, low self-esteem has been “associated with a number of psychological, physical, and social consequences” that can influence adolescent development and last into adulthood. Low self-esteem can trigger depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and even suicide later in life.

If an adult engages in self-harm, the effects can be similar. Without getting to the root of these tendencies, negative effects can continue arising and prevent a person from leading a joyful and fulfilling life.

The Impact of Self-Harm: Treatment

After the physical scars have healed, the impact of self-harm can linger without proper interventions or treatment. Since trauma is so prevalent among those who engage in self-harm, it’s important to find trauma-informed treatment.

There is no specific medication prescribed for those who self-harm. However, many people who engage in self-harm may also suffer from mental health conditions that can be treated with medication.

No matter what, treating self-harm should be approached in a gentle way. It can take time to process heavy emotions underneath the surface and navigate past trauma. It’s important to always take it one day at a time.

Healing the Impact of Self-Harm at The Guest House

Treating self-harm and underlying trauma that may have caused it is an extremely delicate process. A trauma-informed care facility like The Guest House can help you or a loved one overcome the mental wounds of self-harm and regain a sense of control over your lives.

Our progressive program contains a blend of traditional therapies and holistic practices to help you or a loved one find the methods that work best. Highly trained staff members are here to provide support and uncover the root of these issues so that you or your loved one can finally move past them.

Processing Trauma and Low Self-Esteem

At The Guest House, we offer a wide range of therapies that can help you or a loved one overcome low self-esteem. We offer services that help people process trauma on physical, mental, and emotional levels. Practices like meditation and yoga can allow you or a loved one to reconnect with lost parts of yourselves. Additionally, somatic therapy can help you or a loved one to dissipate any effects of trauma that linger in the body.

Self-harm can leave you or your loved ones feeling lost and ashamed. At The Guest House, group therapy is here to help you connect with peers who truly understand your struggles. Individual therapy is another useful tool to help you or a loved one overcome your wounds so you can heal.

You are not your traumas or your scars. At The Guest House, you can find yourself again and rediscover true happiness in the world.

The impact of self-harm can be vast. Long after physical scars have healed, mental wounds can linger. At The Guest House, our trauma-informed program can help you overcome your struggles with self-harm and any underlying trauma that may have led you to feel the need to harm yourself. We offer a progressive blend of traditional and holistic therapies to help you process trauma, overcome low self-esteem, and learn to love yourself again. Modalities like meditation and somatic therapy can help you heal on physical, mental, and emotional levels. Talk therapies are also here to help you understand that you are not alone. For more information, call us at (855) 483-7800.