Self-harm is an act of inflicting injury on oneself to cope with emotional distress. It is a concerning behavior among teens who attempt to handle stress and emotional pain by harming themselves. Many children are not great at managing emotions and overwhelming thoughts and this drives them into self-injury.
In this write-up, we will provide you with all the relevant information about self-harm in adolescence.
What Triggers Self-Harm In Adolescence?
Self-harm in adolescence has mostly to do with the inability to manage strong emotions skillfully. Adolescence is a very sensitive period for children because they undergo rapid physical and psychological changes.
During the challenging span of teen years, children are faced with varied levels of difficulty. Teens who are struggling with issues of autonomy and self-identity frequently engage in self-injurious behavior. Let us decode in detail what triggers self-harm in adolescence for better understanding.
- Inability to conceive healthy emotional response – Some pressures are a lot for a child to tolerate. They release their pent-up emotions via self-injury.
- Traumatic life experiences – The environment, situations, and experiences faced by an adolescent decide his/her response to emotions.
- Absence of coping skills – With no strategic coping mechanism in place, some children often turn to ways of self-harm to express themselves.
- Get momentary solace in suffering – Some children might seek temporary solace by harming themselves. This might give an illusion of fantasy amidst heartwrenching reality for them.
What Are The Specific Factors That Promote Self-Harm?
Although every child has a different reason for engaging in self-harm, there are a handful of specific factors that are known to grease the wheels of self-harm.
- Family conflicts
- Complex relationships
What Are The Signs Of Self-Harm?
If a teen is going to the extent of harming oneself, he/she will try to hide this behavior by all means. This is why you must know the signs of self-injury. Keep in mind that it might be incredibly difficult to spot the warning signs of self-injury. Therefore, be wary of the following:
- Unexplainable injury marks including cuts, bruises, and in some cases, burns. They are most common on arms, especially wrists, and palms
- Full-sleeve clothing even in summer
- Low energy levels and enhanced reaction time for everything
- Agitation and violence
- Hot flashes and short-temper behavior out of nowhere
- Feeling unwanted or useless
- Irritability and severe mood swings
- No attention to physical appearance
- An abrupt aversion to extra-curricular activities
- Massive transition in eating patterns like low appetite and reluctance to eat favorite foods
- A sharp decline in performance at school
- No interest in meeting friends or playing outside
What To Do If Your Child Is Self-Injuring?
Even to entertain the idea that your child is hurting themselves is painful. Please think about the following if you notice your child is self-injuring:
✅ First Things First, Provide First Aid
If you see your child injuring themselves, try not to become angry or yell at them. Even though it’s a very hard sight to digest, keep your calm and look for a first aid kit to treat the wound.
✅ Communicate Openly, And Most Importantly, Listen
Emotions are the very reason your child is stuck in the loop of self-harm. You must focus on providing extensive emotional support to your child by creating a trusted non-judgemental environment. Make your child feel loved and wanted so that he/she understands that it’s a safe space to talk in.
✅ Seek A Trained Expert’s Help
The most important step is seeking a professional’s help who can discover the underlying cause of your child’s self-harming nature. Your child can learn healthy coping strategies from a mental health professional through mindfulness practices and interacting with creative channels.
✅ Ensure Further Safety By Removing Sharp Objects
You don’t know how your child will respond to the professional treatment. Remove any potential means by which the adolescent could inflict further harm on oneself, such as knives or hammers.
What Can I Do If I Injure Myself?
If you are the one inflicting harm upon yourself and are here to seek help directly, we applaud you as you are on the right path. Speak to an adult whom you can trust and talk your heart out. Ask for a professional’s help and seek emotional and behavioral support.