The signs of self-harm in teens are not always easy to recognize. Sometimes, they’re just as difficult for others to notice as they are for the person who self-harms. This kind of destructive behavior hurts not just the individual but their family and friends as well.
Fortunately, there are specialized self-harm treatment programs for adolescents. These programs can be valuable when there are signs of self-harm in teens. The first step, however, is being able to recognize those signs.
If you notice any common signs of self-harm in someone you care about, reach out to Foothills at Red Oak Recovery immediately at 866.300.5275.
Why Do Teens Self-Harm?
It may be difficult for others to understand why an adolescent would want to hurt themselves.
For many, it’s because they feel like they deserve to be punished in some way. Others engage in this behavior because they feel like they have no control over their lives, and the pain is at least something they control.
Teens may also use physical pain as a means of distracting themselves from other types of pain, whether it be mental or emotional. As strange as it sounds, they inflict pain in order to escape the pain.
Regardless of the specific motivation, self-harm often serves as a way for teens to release feelings of tension, anxiety, grief, guilt, or anger that they have trouble managing on their own.
What Are Some Types of Self-Harm in Teens?
In order to learn the telltale signs of self-harm, it’s important first to know the different forms the behavior can take and the different ways that adolescents may try to hurt themselves.
Two of the most common forms are burning and cutting. Others include:
- Ingesting toxic substances
- Cutting with sharp objects
- Pulling out body hairs
- Deliberate self-starvation or binge eating
- Hitting or punching themselves
- Punching walls until an injury occurs
- Using alcohol or drugs
An adolescent might also self-harm by deliberately exercising at frequencies or intensities that are not just excessive but dangerous.
What Are the Signs of Self-Harm in Teens?
Most of the time, teens try to hide evidence of self-harm. They may cover their skin and avoid talking about their injuries if they’re spotted.
Other warning signs indicating that an adolescent is engaging in self-harm can include:
- Symptoms of depression like low mood, tearfulness, or a lack of motivation
- Unusual weight gain or loss
- Withdrawing from loved ones and friends
- Finding no joy in activities they used to love
- Using drugs or alcohol
- Unexplained burns, bruises, or cuts
- Other unexplained injuries, usually on the wrists, thighs, chest, or arms
- Patches of missing or cut hair on the head
- Expressing wishes to punish themselves
- Being secretive about their eating habits
- Frequent self-blame or criticism
- Frequent statements about not being good enough
Adolescents who self-harm often blame themselves for situations they have nothing to do with and are prone to feelings of self-loathing. Many will keep their skin fully covered at all times, even when the weather is hot.
Self-Harm in Teens: Getting Help at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
When their feelings of helplessness become especially overwhelming, self-harming teens might lock themselves in their rooms for the majority of their time at home. You may find razor blades, knives, box cutters, lighters, matches, or similar implements among their possessions or discover that they’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If any of these warning signs gives you cause to suspect that an adolescent boy in your life is self-harming or acting in a self-destructive way, don’t wait around hoping things will get better. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery at 866.300.5275 and get them the help they need.