Self-Injury Awareness Day (SIAD) is a global event held annually on March 1st. Its purpose is to remove the stigma attached to self-injury and to encourage parents, family members, educators, and healthcare professionals to recognize the signs of self-harm.
Self-harm is a term used to describe the actions someone takes to intentionally and repeatedly injure themselves. Every year in the United States there are two million cases of self-harm reported, 60% of them are females. About 8.7% of people who engage in self-harm also abuse substances.
Self-harm is also commonly referred to as self-mutilation, self-abuse, self-injury, and engaging in self-injurious behavior (SIB). The medical term for self-harm is non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Though NSSI is self-destructive, people who engage in these behaviors do so to numb their emotional pain and ease their negative emotions.
Self-harm is considered to be a form of addiction where people seek an outlet to relieve stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, depression and feelings of self-hatred through self-injurious behaviors such as cutting, burning, headbanging, or hair-pulling.
Although most individuals who self-harm may transition to substance abuse, alternately, some who begin using substances in an attempt to self-medicate may decide to self-harm instead of or in addition to using drugs or alcohol.
The combination of these two addictions has the potential for severe harm. For instance, aside from the physical limitations that alcohol and substance abuse present, these drugs also tend to intensify negative feelings like hopelessness, depression, and anxiety. These amplified emotions can lead a person to delve into more extreme self-harming behaviors, possibly even leading to suicide. Someone who cuts while under the influence of alcohol is more apt to accidentally make incisions that are too deep. This may cause excessive bleeding that can be fatal.
Those who struggle with addiction, as well as self-harming behaviors, need specialized treatment that simultaneously addresses both conditions. Addiction treatment facilities offering treatment for addiction and related mental health conditions are often equipped to provide treatment for individuals who are struggling with both afflictions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be an effective tool along with group, family and individual therapies. If someone suffering from self-harming behaviors has a traumatic event or trigger in their past or current life, Rapid Resolution Therapy (trauma therapy) can work to uncover the issues and help patients to cope in a healthier way.
To explore addiction treatment for a co-occurring NSSI and substance abuse problem at Florida Center for Recovery, please contact us at (800) 851-3291. We are accredited and certified by the Joint Commission, which sets the standard for delivery of safe and effective care of the highest quality and value for our clients.
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Florida Center for Recovery
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