Teen Self Injury is a type of mental illness categorized as a psychological impulse-control disorder. Teens with this condition habitually harm themselves in some way (usually by cutting or burning themselves) in order to find temporary relief from the mental or emotional suffering they’re experiencing. While the difficult feelings and thoughts teens struggle with may vary, it’s common for them to experience strong feelings of shame, depression, guilt, and/or low feelings of self-worth. While teens may understand that practically, harming themselves will not change their circumstances, they become fixated on the idea that the only way they will experience relief is to perform the harmful behavior. In this sense, the violent acts become compulsive addictions and not controllable choices. This not only causes teens to become stuck in this negative behavior pattern but also tends to exacerbate the negative symptoms which teens are already experiencing. Notably, it’s very common for Teen Self Injury to be present as a Co-Occurring Disorder, along with conditions such as Teen Depression and Teen Eating Disorder. Teen Self Injury Treatment is necessary to help and heal your teen.
One of the common characteristics of Teen Self Injury is that teens experience relief from the violent act, followed by shame. This creates a negative emotional cycle in which teens build up anxiety and stress, which causes them to seek relief by performing the self-harm, which creates temporary relief, followed by increased feelings of shame, anxiety, and depression. Because of the complex combination of feelings teens experience, they are most often very secretive about the self-harm and may carry on for extensive periods of time, without anyone knowing. It’s paradoxical, of course, that these behaviors of self-harm are also considered to be a way that teens are crying out for help, giving a visible signal (both to themselves and others) of their invisible emotional pain. The paradoxical nature of the behavior points to the complex beliefs the teens have about their need for help and their need to punish or hurt themselves.
Some of the signs or symptoms which teens suffering from Teen Self Injury may present include but are not limited to: strange cuts or scars on the body; dismissal of cuts; secretive attitude toward behaviors; unseasonable clothing to hide marks, such as long sleeves and pants in warm weather; repetitive agitated behaviors such as pulling hair, scratching; and tendency toward spending increasing amounts of time alone.
Paradigm Treatment Centers Teen Self Injury Treatment:
At Paradigm Treatment Centers, we provide residential Teen Self Injury Treatment. All of our treatment plans are designed to promote and sustain health and well-being of teens in all areas of their lives. Therefore, in our treatment design we thoroughly address symptoms as well as problematic behaviors, but these are just two aspects of the holistic treatment plan, which also addresses teens’ mental, emotional, physical, relational, and academic health. The goal behind our treatment approach is that by supporting teens in this cohesive way they will not just overcome their current predominant struggle but will grow, heal and grow more whole, as people.
One of the first measures we take in working with teens is to ensure their physical and mental safety throughout their time here with us at Paradigm. Then, our therapists work with teens to uncover, address, and process the underlying emotional and mental stressors, which are triggering the harmful behaviors. This kind of deeper introspective and reflective work can be challenging but is instrumental in ensuring that we support teens to address the causal factors at play, rather than merely the behaviors. To provide the opportunity for this work, we include individual therapy sessions every day while teens are in treatment, as well as multiple other group therapy sessions and activities. The combination of therapies provided are designed to meet the specific and unique groups of the teens, and include a wide range of approaches and modalities, including things such as Teen Recreational Therapy, Teen Yoga Therapy, Teen Meditation Therapy, Teen Art Therapy, and more.