For adults who become aware of incidents of self-harm affecting young people in their lives, it is important to learn more about the reasons behind the behaviors and how to get effective adolescent self harm treatment. As a complex social and mental health issue, though, self-harming behaviors in adolescents may often be underreported and misunderstood. Ranging from fairly minor injuries like bruises, scratches, or hair pulling to more serious ones such as severe cuts or burns, self-harm often relates to underlying psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or effects of childhood traumas such as abuse.
Know The Signs
Depending on the individual, the self-harming adolescent may either show obvious signs of self-injury, or may go to great lengths to conceal the activity and the resulting scars or symptoms in other cases. Among some young people, the self-harm may function as an effort to obtain attention for psychological disorders or concerns, while others report that the self harm is essentially an effort to either release uncomfortable or painful feelings or to override such emotions with a more powerful physical pain from the cutting, burning or harming of oneself. For the adult who sees signs of troubling behavior, seeking out adolescent self harm treatment can be a crucial first step toward addressing the deeper root causes of the actions. If the injuries are open and apparent, people in the child’s life are able to address and discuss the issue. But where the young person conceals the activity by hiding the scars or providing alternative reasons for obvious injuries, it may be necessary to be attuned to more subtle signs to determine whether the child is engaging in self-harm. In either case, whether it is open and apparent behavior or subtle and hidden, it is important to know of options in adolescent self harm treatment when the problem becomes known.
Proceed With Caution to Provide Help
As with many psychosocial conditions, addressing the issue of self-injury with an adolescent is best done in a non-judgmental, non-threatening manner. It is important to understand that anger, punishment, or threats may have the effect of driving the behavior further underground, without helping to address some of the reasons behind the activity. It is also considered generally counterproductive to go into great detail with the child about the specifics of the activities, as this may trigger further desire to cause harm or repeat the actions. Often the most beneficial course is to seek professional adolescent self harm treatment with the child, so that experts in psychological care can assess the situation and help to direct the young person to recognize the reasons behind the behavior and work toward stopping the damaging activities.