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A-Z Teen Health Glossary

Teen Self Injury Treatment

What Is Teen Self Injury?

Teen self injury disorder is a mental illness in which teens suffer from emotional angst, such as depression and anxiety symptoms, which leads to them physically harming themselves.  Sometimes, the thoughts of self harm can become almost compulsive, where teens visibly harm themselves as an attempt to gain relief from the invisible, emotional pain they’re experiencing.

Symptoms of Self Injury and Harm

While the most defining symptom of teen self injury disorder is teens harming themselves physically, it’s important to recognize that this outward act is a symptom of the teens’ inner emotional turmoil.  Furthermore, it’s extremely common for self injury disorder to be present as a co-occurring disorder, often along with depression, anxiety, and/or an eating disorder.

Often teens with self injury disorder will harm themselves in secret and therefore, be careful to hide any evidence of their behaviors.  The most common acts of self harm are burning and cutting and to hide evidence of their self harm, teens might wear clothing that covers them, dismiss cuts or bruises as strange accidents, and sometimes become overly defensive.  In addition to cutting and burning, sometimes teens can develop nervous repetitive behaviors, such as scratching and/or pulling on hair.

Beyond the harmful behaviors themselves, teens with self injury disorder often suffer from other symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, such as quickly changing moods, insomnia, controlling behaviors, lack of appetite, and withdrawing from relationships and activities.

Self Injury Treatment Options

The first primary goal of teen self injury treatment is to ensure the physical safety of the teen. Secondly, therapists work with teens to address what stressors and triggers are present in their lives, which are causing them to harm themselves.  By working with teens to identify and process these stressors, the teens can often gain insight into connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

More specifically, in our teen self injury treatment programs, therapists help teens to recognize thought patterns that result in the self harm behaviors.  While at first, teens might not know clearly what thoughts or feelings lead to these moments, over time they can examine where their thoughts go and why the compulsion to self harm arises.  This is an extremely powerful step in helping teens understand how to alter their thought patterns and therefore, fend off the urge to self harm.

Overall, teen self injury treatment can be extremely successful and teens can gain relief from these thoughts and behaviors in relatively short amount of time.  While teens may still struggle with the urge to self harm for a longer period of time, they can gain the tools and resources to resist these urges, if and when they still arise.

Paradigm Austin’s Treatment Program

At Paradigm Austin, we provide holistic treatment for teenagers ages 13-18, from Austin State and around the globe.  Paradigm Austin is located in a beautiful, house-like setting.  At Paradigm Austin, we design teen self injury disorder treatment from a combination of traditional and progressive treatment approaches, and our team of professionals is among the very best in the nation.