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How to Stop Self-Harm with 6 Steps

Learning how to stop self-harm starts with these tips. Find out more on self-harm recovery as well as how The Blackberry Center can help you stop self-harming behaviors for good.

Treating Self-Harming Behaviors

Learning how to stop self-harm is important, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. For many people who self-harm, it can feel incredibly difficult to quit. 

Self-harming behaviors are especially difficult to talk about for people who self-harm because they can feel embarrassing. You may also want to avoid disappointing the people around you, which increases feelings of shame.

Although self-harming behaviors can seem like a way to deal with stress, anxiety, and emotional pain, they only provide temporary relief. Without dealing with the underlying emotions that are causing the behavior, you’ll continue harming yourself, which can lead to dangerous injuries and increased mental health issues.

At The Blackberry Center, we know how to stop self-harm behaviors, and we do it in an atmosphere that makes you feel comfortable with your mental health challenges, whatever they may be. 

Here are a few tips we suggest when learning healthier ways to deal when you’re feeling the urge to self-harm.

1. Find Someone Who Can Help

how to stop self-harm

The first thing you should do is find someone who can help. Sometimes, that means reaching out to a friend or family member. It often also includes reaching out to a mental health professional who has experience working with people who engage in harming behaviors.

When you do reach out to a mental health professional, you’ll likely participate in cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy is similar to traditional talk therapy, but it focuses on identifying the cognitive distortions that may be causing you to harm yourself. It is a great way to get to the root of your self-harming behavior so you can find healthier ways to deal with your emotions.

2. Consider Different Kinds of Therapy

Sharing your struggles with someone is a great way to get the support you need when you find it difficult to stop harming yourself, especially if it involves talking with a therapist who uses cognitive behavioral therapy during your sessions. But that doesn’t mean it’s your only option.

There are a lot of therapy options for those who are using methods of self-harm as coping mechanisms to deal with life stresses. Just a few include:

  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Recreational therapy

Having the option to participate in different kinds of therapy often leads to diagnoses of disorders that accompany self-harm behaviors. Therapy can address co-occurring disorders, like eating disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse disorders, which in turn can reduce your urges to harm yourself.

3. Get Rid of Items You Use to Self-Harm

The are many ways to self-harm. The urge to cut is common, but many people who self-harm also use items around the house, such as snapping a rubber band, stabbing safety pins, lighting matches, and more. No matter what you use when coping with life stresses, it’s important to get rid of these items to reduce temptation.

This is why reaching out to loved ones is so important. Friends and family can help you get rid of seemingly innocent household items to help you cope with the urge to self-harm.

4. Find Something Else to Do When You Get the Urge to Self-Harm

If you’ve had a chance to go to therapy, you will be able to identify triggers that make you want to self-harm. When those triggers appear, or you start to feel the urge to cut, you can find something else to do instead.

There are many things to choose from. Just a few ideas include:

  • Listen to music
  • Do a household chore, like wash the dishes
  • Go for a walk or a run
  • Call or text a trusted friend
  • Hold something in your hand

It’s all about finding something that works for you in your unique situation. Cleaning the bedroom might work for you, while getting out into nature may work to calm someone else’s nerves.

5. Learn How to Let out Your Emotional Pain in a Healthy Way

Self-harm isn’t a formal diagnosis in the DSM-5, which means it isn’t recognized as an actual mental health disorder. Instead, self-harm is considered to be a coping mechanism to deal with overwhelming emotions. It is often present with other mental health disorders, but it does not have its own diagnosis.

The good news is that for most patients who use self-harm as a coping strategy, other methods of dealing with emotions can eliminate the problem. 

Screaming and yelling can be surprisingly effective ways to deal with certain emotions, while asking for a hug can help you deal with others. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of when crying, especially since it actually works to help you feel comfortable in triggering situations.

6. Consider an Inpatient Treatment Program

self-harm recovery

If your harming behavior is getting worse, or if it’s something you’ve been doing in the long-term to deal with tough emotions, it’s time to take a more serious approach to learning how to stop self-harm. That could mean a stay in an inpatient treatment program.

Inpatient programs can prevent you from harming yourself as you learn healthier ways to deal with your emotions. They are especially effective if you’re beginning to have suicidal thoughts, or if you’re dealing with other mental health disorders.

The Blackberry Center is here to help you with all the tips on this list and more. We will cater a therapy program for your specific needs so you can eliminate the urge to self-harm for good.

Call us directly at 407-449-8757, or fill out our online form and we can tell you more about our treatment options. 

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