Geisinger Behavioral Health Centers

Moosic’s trusted self harm disorder treatment center

Self-harm is intentionally hurting yourself as a response to emotional pain or distress. It’s not a formal disorder, but often accompanies other mental health concerns and requires professional care. The good news: Healing is possible.

People who are engaging in self-harm can develop healthy coping mechanisms and get well when they turn to Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast in Moosic, Pa. Here, we’ll focus on your strengths and help you build resiliency as you grow.

What is self-harm?

Self-harming behaviors include cutting, burning, scratching, hitting and any other act that causes physical injury to oneself. If someone is self-harming, it doesn’t mean they want to die. Engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury acts as a temporary distraction from overwhelming emotions, difficult thoughts, low self-esteem and feelings of emptiness or numbness.

Self-harm is ineffective as a long-term coping mechanism. And it’s not a healthy or successful way to manage emotional distress.

Though it’s not a clinical mental health disorder, self-harm is sometimes associated with underlying or co-occurring mental health concerns, such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

If you’re engaging in self-harming behaviors, seek professional help. Mental health professionals such as therapists, counselors and psychiatrists can provide support, guidance and appropriate interventions that address the underlying causes of self-harm and help you heal.

Common signs and symptoms of self-harm

Cutting is the most well-known type of self-harm, but there are many ways a person might injure themselves. When someone is self-harming, they typically try to keep it hidden, making it difficult for friends and family members to know that they might be hurting themselves.

Signs that a person may be engaging in self-harm include:

  • Fresh cuts, burns or wounds on the body, especially on the arms, legs or other accessible areas
  • Wearing an excessive number of bracelets or wristbands
  • Wearing long sleeves even in warm weather
  • Sharp objects among their belongings
  • Long amounts of time in the bathroom or bedroom with the door locked
  • Expressing interest in self-harm through artwork, social media or handwritten texts
  • Changes in appetite
  • Intense mood swings
  • Scars that appear in patterns
  • Persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of shame and guilt
  • Impulsive actions
  • Unexplained broken or fractured bones
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Frequent injuries that are explained as being the result of accidents

If you see signs that someone may be self-harming, it’s time to reach out for professional help. A mental health expert will help them learn effective ways to handle emotional distress.

Potential effects of self-harm

By seeking appropriate treatment for self-harming behavior, you can avoid potentially severe effects such as:

  • Serious injuries: Deep cuts, burns or other self-inflicted wounds may require medical intervention or hospitalization.
  • Overwhelming shame or guilt: Feelings of shame, guilt or self-blame contribute to a negative self-perception and make seeking help or using healthy coping strategies more challenging.
  • Infections: Open wounds may develop infections, which can lead to further health complications.
  • Isolation: Feeling ashamed or finding it hard to explain your actions to others can make you feel isolated.
  • Avoiding social, school or work opportunities: Withdrawing from social activities, school or work to hide behaviors or scars can slow personal growth and limit opportunities for building relationships and achieving personal and professional goals.
  • Scarring: Lasting scars on your body may remind you of the pain you had, as well as impact your body image and self-esteem.
  • Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental health disorders: Self-harm is often associated with underlying mental health concerns.
  • Increased risk for suicide: Take self-harm seriously. Seek professional help to address underlying concerns and protect your safety.

With self-harm treatment, you’ll develop skills for a happier and safer future. Receiving proper care at a treatment place like Geisinger Behavioral Health can make a positive difference in your life.

Self-harm statistics

According to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology, self-harm happens among adolescents, university students and adults. The onset most often occurs between ages 12 and 14, which underscores the need for early intervention and support for young people at risk for engaging in self-harm. Women are more likely than men to self-harm, and members of the LGBTQ+ community and those who have experienced bullying, trauma and abuse are at higher risk as well. Self-harm is associated with many mental health and substance use disorders.

Prevention, early intervention and comprehensive treatment can address self-harm and its risk factors. Seek professional help and support if you are engaging in self-harm behaviors.

How to help your loved one

If you suspect someone you love is self-harming, it’s most helpful to approach the situation with empathy and sensitivity. Here are some steps you can take to support a loved one who may be self-harming:

  • Educate yourself about self-harm and its underlying causes to better understand what your loved one may be going through.
  • Choose an appropriate time and private setting to initiate a conversation with them, expressing your concerns without judgment.
  • Listen actively and without interruption, allowing them to express their feelings openly.
  • Offer your support and reassurance, emphasizing that you genuinely care and want to help them.
  • Encourage them to seek professional help from a therapist, counselor or other mental health expert who can provide specialized treatment.
  • Don’t promise to keep it a secret, as you may need to involve trusted adults or healthcare professionals to make sure they’re safe.
  • If the person is in immediate danger or has caused severe harm to themselves, contact emergency services right away.
  • Respect your loved one’s boundaries and choices while encouraging them to seek professional treatment for self-harm.

Inpatient self-harm treatment at Geisinger Behavioral Health

At Geisinger Behavioral Health, you can focus on healing. You’ll have personalized help when you enter inpatient care at our self-harm treatment center.

Your comprehensive treatment plan can include the following:

  • Medication management: If medication is necessary for your treatment, our staff, including psychiatrists, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nurse practitioners, can provide daily medication management services. The decision to include medication in your treatment plan is based on your specific symptoms and needs.
  • Individual therapy: You can have one-on-one sessions with a social worker or licensed professional counselor. These sessions offer a confidential environment where you can discuss your situation. The therapist provides support, encouragement and guidance tailored to your needs.
  • Creative arts therapies: These therapies provide alternative avenues for self-expression, emotion processing and healing. You can gain insight into your feelings and reduce stress through creative arts therapies.
  • Group therapy: Daily group therapy sessions are a core component of our inpatient treatment. These sessions are led by therapists and other behavioral health professionals and let you connect with others going through similar experiences. Group therapy provides an opportunity to practice coping skills, discuss triggers, learn life skills and be educated on your diagnosis. During treatment here, you can attend three group sessions each day.

You can expect comprehensive care at Geisinger’s self-harm inpatient treatment center, where we address your relationship with self-harm through a combination of medication management,

individual therapy, group therapy and additional services. With the help of our multidisciplinary professionals, you can develop coping strategies that promote healing.

Beyond individualized medication management and evidence-based therapies, we offer these key features and services:

  • Flexible assessments
  • Safety
  • Accessible outdoor areas
  • Compassionate care
  • Co-occurring disorders treatment
  • Discharge planning and aftercare

For more information about the therapies and services at Geisinger’s inpatient self-harm treatment center, contact our staff 24/7.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Geisinger Behavioral Health Center Northeast.