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Is There Such Thing as Self-Harm Treatment?

Self-harm is one way that people respond to the symptoms of their mental health disorders. Self-harm occurs when somebody hurts themselves in response to painful feelings, memories, overwhelming situations, and experiences. Self-harm is dangerous for several reasons, but thoughts of self-harm can be treated. If your teen is experiencing thoughts of self-harm or acting them out, reach out to Destinations for Teens today to discuss our teen self-harm addiction treatment programs via 877.466.0620.

What Is Self-Harm?

Self-harm is when somebody hurts themselves in response to a negative emotion, experience, or memory. Self-harm has been described as a way to:

  • Express something hard to put into words
  • Turn invisible thoughts or feelings into something visible
  • Reduce overwhelming emotions, feelings, or thoughts
  • Transfer emotional pain to physical pain
  • Punish oneself
  • Stop feeling numb

People have noted that they feel a short-term sense of relief after self-harming. However, self-harm can also bring up difficult emotions that might make a person feel worse afterward.

Diagnosing Self-Harm

While some people are able to ask for help, it is more common for family or friends to discover self-harm scars or injuries. Diagnosis is not based on a specific test but rather a physical and psychological evaluation. Self-harm treatment starts with a diagnosis. After being diagnosed with self-harming tendencies, you may be referred to a mental health professional with experience in treating self-harm. You may also be evaluated for other mental health conditions like depression or personality disorders.

Treatment for Self-Harm

Treating self-harm begins with talking to somebody who can help you get the help you need. This might be a parent, a guidance counselor, or a doctor. Treatment for self-harm is based on your specific issues and any related mental health conditions that you may have. There are several self-harm treatment options available.


Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or psychological counseling, can help you:

  • Identify and manage underlying issues that trigger self-harm
  • Learn skills to manage negative emotions
  • Learn how to boost your self-image
  • Develop skills to improve relationships and social skills
  • Develop healthy problem-solving skills

There are several distinct kinds of psychotherapy that could be helpful. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you identify negative and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors and replace them with healthier, more effective ones. CBT can also help you gain skills to help you cope with different situations. Dialectical behavior therapy is a type of CBT that teaches behavioral skills that help you manage your distress and emotions and improve your relationships with others.   Mindfulness-based therapies can help you live in the present and teach you how to cope with negative emotions and difficult thoughts. Group therapy or family therapy is also an option for those struggling with self-harm.


There is no medicine that specifically treats self-harm behavior. However, medications are available for those diagnosed with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety. Your healthcare provider may recommend antidepressants or other medicines to treat your mental health condition that might be linked to thoughts of self-harm. Treating these conditions might help reduce the urge to self-harm.

Inpatient Care

Depending on the severity of your self-harm tendencies, your healthcare provider may recommend that you be admitted to a psychiatric inpatient program. This can happen if you injure yourself severely or repeatedly. Being cared for in a place where you have 24/7 care can provide a safe environment and more-intensive treatment until you get through a crisis.

Self-Harm Treatment with Destinations for Teens

If you believe that your teen is self-harming, the best thing you can do for them is get them the help they need. Destinations for Teens offers a caring and comprehensive approach to self-harm treatment. Reach out to one of our healthcare professionals via 877.466.0620 to discuss treatment options today.