Self-Harm and Addiction
Self-harm is often confused with suicidal behavior. Self-harm is defined as self-inflicted or deliberate injury to body tissue with the intent to cause pain, bruising or bleeding without any suicidal intent. Self-mutilation or deliberate self-harm is a build up of emotions such as frustration, anger, self-loathing, depression, and anxiety where the person seeks an outlet through self-mutilation.
A person will often use self-harm as way of gaining some sort of control in their lives. Often times self-harm goes unnoticed because it occurs behind closed doors, but is typically a cry for help. Self-injury is something that a person can become reliant on over time.
The following behaviors are considered to be forms of self-harm:
- Hair pulling
- Interfering with wound healing
- Skin picking
It is approximated that 2 million cases of self-harm are reported annually in the U.S. Self-harm is prevalent among pre-adolescent and teenagers. Females are estimated to comprise 60 percent of those who engage in self injurious behavior.
A recent study found that approximately 8.7 percent of the people committing self-harm also abused drugs. Substance abuse and addiction usually come into play when the person suffering from a mental illness start to “self medicate” with drugs or alcohol. By definition, Dual Diagnosis is when a patient suffers from both a mental illness and a problematic substance abuse/addiction condition. It is crucial to treat these co-occurring disorders at the same time, as both disorders play off of each other.
Warning signs of self-harm are:
- Noticeable wounds that are unexplainable
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Wearing clothes with long sleeves at unusual times to attempt to cover up wounds
- Avoiding participation in social situations
- Items such as lighters, knives, razors, glass, scissors in easily accessible places that they wouldn’t typically belong.
A New Start, Inc. specializes in Dual Diagnosis treatment. At A New Start, Inc. we have successfully treated many patients who suffer from a co-occurring disorder with our intensive outpatient dual diagnosis treatment. With our individualized treatment plans, we know from day one, which patients fall into the dual diagnosis category. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction and a co-occurring disorder, please contact A New Start today at 844.TALK.ANS for help.