Self-harm is the act of intentionally harming oneself and is often a way in which individuals cope with painful and difficult emotions. Adults who self-injure may feel completely overwhelmed and do not know any other way to deal with stress. While self-harm does not mean that an individual is trying to cause him or herself serious harm, it does, however, carry serious risks. Each person has a different reason for engaging in self-harm, but many report that it offers an immediate sense of release from emotional pain and induces feelings of control over turmoil. However, these effects are temporary and the psychological distress does come back, often in combination with additional feelings of shame and guilt.
At Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital, we can help get to the root cause of your self-harming behaviors and help you process any painful emotions that are causing distress in your life. We have years of experience working with adults during difficult times, and we are ready to help you start your path toward recovery. You do not have to continue to suffer alone and in silence. The compassionate staff at Greenleaf can help you achieve the life that you have always wanted.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Since self-harm is a behavior most often done in secret, it can be difficult to determine if your loved one is intentionally harming him or herself. Some signs that your loved one may be self-harming can include the following:
- Unexplained cuts or abrasions
- Bloodstained clothes, sheets, and towels
- Covering up with long sleeves and pants, even in warm weather
- Being irritable
- Social isolation
- Frequent reports of accidents
When someone you love is harming him or herself, it can be a very confusing time, as you are unsure as to why your loved one would want to do something so painful. However, while you may not understand this behavior, it is important to realize that for some, it is a way to cope with intense emotional pain. The way in which you react to this behavior can have a huge impact on your loved one. Here are some suggestions for how to approach the discussion of self-harm with someone you care about:
- Be calm and understanding. Do not overreact.
- Do not judge him or her and be compassionate.
- Listen openly to what he or she has to say.
- Do not expect your loved one to stop right away; it takes time to learn new coping skills.
- Help your loved one find a mental health professional to talk to who can help him or her find new ways of coping with emotional pain.
Why Consider Treatment at Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital
Self-harm does not help to alleviate emotional pain or turmoil, and, if left untreated, it can lead to further complications. While some complications may only be minor, there are some that can be permanent and untreatable. Self-injury only temporarily stops negative emotions, it does not fix underlying issues. Over time, the emotions build up and eventually come to overwhelm the person. Additionally, certain types of self-harming behaviors increase the chance of an individual developing an infection, bleeding to death from cutting a vein or artery, and causing permanent scars or disfigurement.
Often, an inpatient treatment program that specializes in treating adults who engage in self-harm can be extremely helpful in allowing these individuals to find healthier ways of coping with the emotional pain or distress they are experiencing. Through a thorough assessment, an inpatient program will be able to determine the underlying cause for an individual’s self-harm and work with him or her to develop a treatment plan that will put him or her on the path toward recovery. Through therapy, individuals can learn to cope with stress and focus on improving both communication and social skills. Additionally, most inpatient programs provide family therapy, which can help to address any familial dysfunction and get everyone on the same page.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital, we are committed to giving one hundred percent of ourselves in effort and training to become experts in our field. Our mission is to provide exceptional treatment and therapeutic programming in a safe environment, sending patients from our doors onto the path of life-long recovery.
Types of Treatment offered at Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital
Upon arrival at Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital, each patient will complete an initial assessment that is designed to provide us with all of the information needed to be able to develop a specialized treatment plan focused on each patient’s needs. Once the assessment is complete, it will be reviewed by one of our psychiatrists in order to confirm admission. All of our programs are designed to meet the individual needs of our patients through a comprehensive and compassionate approach, with treatment being led by a team of highly trained psychiatrists and mental health professionals.
Some the treatment methods we use here at Greenleaf for the treatment of self-harm include:
Medication management: There are no specific medications used to treat self-harm; however, it may be recommended that some of our patients take antidepressants or other psychiatric medications to help alleviate the distress that is caused by disorders that self-harm is frequently symptomatic of. All patients who are prescribed medications will meet with a psychiatrist daily for medication management.
Individual therapy sessions: Held on an as-needed basis, individual therapy sessions are a time where patients can meet privately with a therapist. These sessions can help men and women learn how to cope with stress and identify triggers that may have led to the onset of self-harming behaviors.
Group therapy sessions: Group therapy is held four times a day and includes a wide variety of topics. Some of the major topics included in group sessions can include stress management, anger management, effectively expressing emotions, communication, and life skills.
Family therapy sessions: After an initial session that is held at the time of admission, family therapy is held on an as-needed basis. Additionally, family education is provided to those who have a family member in our treatment center, which can provide loved ones with support and education about self-harm.
Recreational therapy sessions: Held once a day, recreational therapy provides individuals with the opportunity to participate in activities such as tennis, basketball, swimming, or gym time.
Depending upon one’s treatment plan, he or she may also participate in A.A. or N.A. meetings or have meetings with an outside therapist.
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Greenleaf Behavioral Health Hospital, we offer outpatient treatment for those who are ready to step down to a lower level of care. We offer a partial hospitalization program (PHP) for adults that is designed to help patients remain successful in their recovery, while slowly integrating back into their home lives. At the time of discharge, all patients will meet with their treatment team who will set them up with a therapist and appropriate aftercare programming. Some patients find it best to step down into our PHP, while others are ready to be discharged home. Once a patient is discharged from our outpatient program, we hold an aftercare program every Thursday evening to check on his or her wellbeing.