What Is the Link Between Self-Harm and Trauma?

Trauma can come in many different forms. For example, one may experience or witness sexual assault, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and neglect. A person may also experience chronic abuse, which can be highly detrimental to their mental and physical health. Because people don’t always know how to handle overwhelming negative feelings, self-harm and trauma often co-occur.

Fortunately, 12 South Recovery in Orange County offers self-harm treatment that can significantly improve one’s mental state and overall health. Choosing to move forward with treatment at 12 South’s comprehensive trauma treatment center can provide the support needed to overcome a tragic event that may have led to self-injurious behavior.

The Impact of Trauma

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), trauma is a lasting response to a tragic event. The impact of trauma can negatively affect individuals, families, and the community as a whole. Understandably, trauma is a prevalent behavioral health concern today.

After one is exposed to a traumatic event, it can be a good idea to seek professional help. If trauma goes unaddressed for a prolonged period, an individual is at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Although this can be a difficult condition to treat, everyone deserves to heal from trauma and develop an effective path toward greater well-being.

What Is Self-Harm?

According to SAMHSA, when an individual deliberately injures any part of their own body, this act is referred to as self-harm. Even though men do engage in self-injurious behaviors, it has been found that self-harm is more common in women. Although an individual who chooses to hurt themselves on purpose does not intend to take their life, they are at an increased risk of accidental suicide or tragically passing away due to uncontrolled, impulsive self-injurious behavior.

How Are Self-Harm and Trauma Linked?

Based on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), self-harm is commonly linked with many different forms of trauma. It has been estimated that approximately two to six percent of individuals engage in self-harm at any given point in their lifetime. Based on recent research, self-harm rates are higher in young students, ranging between 13-35% in that population. Depending on the severity of the trauma, emotional pain can feel even worse than physical pain.

This is why some individuals may choose to engage in self-harm in exchange for their emotional pain to achieve immediate relief. Physical injury may also serve as a distraction from emotional pain as well. The injury may give the individual something new to focus on.

Different Types of Self-Harm

The onset of self-harm typically begins in an individual’s adolescent years. Some adolescents find that self-harm helps them cope with the many challenges associated with their mental health. From an internal perspective, self-harm provides one with temporary relief from feelings of hurtful rejection, intense rage, or pure hopelessness. Over time, some individuals begin to experience immediate feelings of regret, embarrassment, or fear after hurting themselves.

Different types of self-harm may include:

  • Puncturing or slicing one’s skin with sharp objects
  • Punching oneself or the surrounding environment
  • Burning oneself with candles, cigarettes, or matches
  • Bruising or breaking one’s bones

Signs of Self-Harm and Trauma

Learning to recognize the signs and symptoms of self-harm can significantly benefit an individual’s safety. Signs may include:

  • Wearing pants, long sleeves, or dark clothing in hot weather to cover up
  • Talking about feeling worthless
  • Random bruises, cuts, burns, or bite marks with no explanation
  • Recurrent accident stories
  • Noticing missing sharp objects from the house or garage
  • Emotional or behavioral instability

Moving Forward With 12 South Recovery to Treat Self-Harm and Trauma

It can be challenging to treat an individual who is facing problems with self-harm and trauma. Even more to the point, it can be extremely difficult for an individual to stop self-harming behaviors, as the cycle can be easily repeated.

Fortunately, 12 South Recovery has a team of trained and experienced specialists who work together to fully address an individual’s response to trauma. Choosing to move forward with our facility can be a life-changing experience. Our Self-Harm and Comprehensive Trauma Treatment Center has been proven to help individuals find safe and effective ways to manage their co-occurring conditions.

Therapies Used to Address Self-Harm and Trauma

Several different types of therapy can help an individual overcome the effects of trauma and discontinue self-harm. These include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Experimental therapies
  • Individual, group, and family therapy programs
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
  • 12-Step recovery principles

Continuing to use the skills learned in therapy outside of treatment can help an individual find the most benefit from their program of choice. Accepting support from family, friends, and loved ones can also help an individual stay motivated to achieve ongoing success. There is hope for anyone who is dealing with self-injurious behaviors. 12 South Recovery provides effective treatments for those whose traumatic experiences have led to self-harm.

As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery is a leading recovery facility in Orange County. Located in Lake Forest, California, we offer effective self-harm treatment. We equip individuals with new coping mechanisms and help them uncover the reasons behind their harmful behaviors. The correlation between trauma and mental health is undeniable, and we are the top mental health facility that specializes in trauma treatment. We also emphasize holistic healing by identifying all aspects of mental and emotional health. This enables us to develop a treatment program that fosters complete recovery. If you or a loved one need professional support, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374 to learn more about our services.

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