Archives for March 2015

What Is Self Harm?

Self-Harm is diagnostically defined as injuring oneself in order to alleviate or relieve emotional pain or worry. This is most often accomplished by cutting or burning and has increasingly become a coping mechanism for adolescents struggling to deal with extreme levels of stress. The causes behind self-harming behavior are not concrete because there are no specific cultural or socioeconomic risk factors; however, more females than males engage in the behavior. Despite what it may seem like, self-harm isn’t necessarily an indication of suicidal behavior or intentions. Rather, participants are seeking quick relief from stress or overwhelming emotion.

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

The logic behind self-harm can be confusing to those who don’t understand what the victim is gaining from the experience. Physically, self-harm produces a rush of endorphins into the system, which results in a temporary numbing or pleasurable sensation. Teens that participate in such behavior are seeking a “high” that effectively separates them from the stress or strong emotion they are experiencing at the moment. Some of the more common stressors that lead teens to self-harm are:

  • Emotional detachment or invalidation from parents or caregivers.
  • Feeling emotionally dead or “invisible” to their peers. Self-harms reminds them that they are alive.
  • Desire to fit in with a peer group that encourages and rewards such behavior.
  • Girls may use self-harm to cope with the expectations of overly demanding parents, most specifically in situations where the father plays the most dominant role.
  • Academic expectations
  • Poor body image

What Should I Watch For?

Self-harm is often a secretive behavior and teens will go to great lengths to keep it from their parents and other authority figures. Some of the signs to watch for are:

  • Burns or cuts on the arms, legs or stomach. Generally self-harmers injure themselves where it can be covered up.
  • Lengthy isolation after a fight, bad day at school or other negative experience.
  • Self-harming behavior among your teen’s close peers.
  • Finding razors, scissors, knives, lighters or matches among your teens bedroom possessions.
  • Reports of concern from siblings, teachers or friends who have observed physically destructive behavior in your teen.

How Can Self-Harming Behavior Be Prevented?

Parents play an important role in preventing their teens from engaging in negative behavior, including self-harm, during the adolescent years. One of the most integral things you can do is attempt to make spending time together as a family a high priority. Teens experience uncertainty in almost every aspect of their social world, so it is important that they feel loved, accepted and noticed in their home environment. Working through problems and issues together sets a good example for handing setbacks and stress in a healthy way.Ultimately, you want to guide him toward healthier coping mechanisms through open communication and non-judgmental understanding.

If your teen is engaging in self-harming behavior and does not seem to be responding to your efforts to help him, consider seeking professional therapeutic help. The earlier a disorder is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be managed effectively. If you have questions about your child’s behavior or would like a free consultation, please contact Liahona Academy at 1-800-675-8101.

What To Look For In A Teen Who Self Harms

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

Self-Harm, an increasingly common practice among adolescents, is an attempt to cope with extreme stress or emotional pain. While cutting and burning are the most common types of self-harm practiced by teens, some also pull out hairs, swallow toxic chemicals or even break bones. Much like substance abuse, any teen can participate in self-harming behavior regardless of cultural or socioeconomic status; however, females are statistically more likely to abuse the practice than males.

Despite what it seems like, self-harming behavior is not necessarily an indication of suicidal intentions, or even a cry for attention. In fact, most participants are seeking fast relief from overwhelming stress or emotion by forcing the body to produce a rush of endorphins that result in a temporary numb feeling or a pleasurable sensation.

What Causes Teens To Self-Harm?

There are many reasons why a teen would turn to self-harm as a coping mechanism. The adolescent years are a time of great stress and social expectations, which can lead to the need for distraction or release from emotional pain.Self-harm is always an outward expression of inner pain, and it is helpful to know some of the potential triggers that might lead your teen to such behavior:

  • Invalidation or emotional detachment from parents or respected authority figures.
  • Feeling either “invisible” to their peers or bullied.
  • Desire to connect or fit in with a peer group that encourages dangerous or “edgy” behavior.
  • Attempt to exert control over something particularly when something in their environment is out of sync, such as a divorce, death or loss of their main social group.
  • Negative body image and difficulty expressing feelings and emotions.

What Self Harming Behaviors Do I Look For In My Teen?

Teens generally go to great lengths to keep their self-harming actions a secret from their parents and teachers. Knowing what to look for can help you stay one step ahead of your teen before his behavior becomes a bigger problem. Some of the signs to look for are:

  • Wearing long pants and long sleeves during warm weather.
  • Unexplained burns, cuts or other marks on the arms, legs or stomach. Self-harmers most often choose parts of the body that can be covered up.
  • Lengthy periods of isolation along with elusive or secretive behavior.
  • Self-harming behavior among your teen’s close peers.
  • Missing items such as scissors, knives, safety pins, razors, lighters or matches.
  • Expressions of concern from teachers, siblings or friends that have observed physically self-destructive behavior.

What Can I Do To Help My Teen?

If you have discovered that your teen is engaging in acts of self-harm, you must get to the bottom of what is bothering him. While injuries that pose immediate risks for infection or death should be taken care of immediately, more minor situations can wait while you determine the best way to help him. Ordering him to stop is tempting, but is actually counter-productive. He cannot stop the behavior until he has learned to replace it with something else. The most effective way to do this is through counseling and therapy with a professional that specializes in teens.

For information about our program or a consultation about your teen’s behavior, please contact us at Liahona Academy (1-800-675-8101.)

What Therapeutic Boarding Schools Do For Teens That Self-Harm

What Is Self Harm?

Self-harm is when an individual cause deliberate injury to himself as a way to cope with stress or an attempt to express painful emotions. It is most often accomplished by cutting or burning the skin, but many teens get more creative about how they choose to cause injury. Self-harming behavior is often mistaken as a precursor or indication of suicidal feelings; however, participants do it as a form of personal therapy. They are seeking the rush of endorphins that flood the body after an injury, which leads to a temporary feeling of elation or numbness when faced with a difficult situation or uncomfortable emotions.

What Are The Reasons Teens Self-Harm?

Adolescent self-harm, like substance abuse, is not prone to any particular race or socioeconomic group, although girls are more statistically more likely to participate than boys. The reasons why teens self-harm are complex and varied and unique to the individual. Essentially, it is an outward expression of inner turmoil; however, there are certain triggers that may be a factor:

  • Academic pressure or standards that don’t match teen’s current ability.
  • Inability to connect with peers, being bullied or feeling “invisible.”
  • Desire to fit in with a peer group that encourages dangerous or “edgy” behavior.
  • Association with peers who are engaging in self-harm themselves.
  • Negative body image.
  • Severe depression or generalized anxiety.
  • Major life event that results in loss of control, such as death, divorce or a major move.

What Will A Therapeutic Boarding School Do For My Self-Harming Teen?

Teens that do not respond to outpatient efforts to help them get their disorder under control may need a more intensive and structured environment in which to heal. In such cases, therapeutic boarding schools are a valuable resource for parents and can be a life-changing experience for their teen. Time spent in a full time facility has many advantages in addition to reducing the usual daily triggers, including:

  • Individual, group and family therapy helps teens identify the root of their pain and bring it out into the open where it can be safely addressed.
  • Cognitive behavior therapy helps teens learn healthier coping methods for dealing with emotional pain and stress.
  • Interactive and recreational activities that help each teen develop and recognize his strengths, while working on his weaknesses.
  • Guidance for parents or caregivers on how you can most effectively support your teen as he heals.

If your teen is engaging in self-harming behavior and has failed to respond to your efforts to help him, we would like to talk to you about your options for getting him back on track. Contact us today for a free consultation at Liahona Academy (1-800-675-8101.)

What Causes A Teen To Inflict Self Harm?

Self-Harm is the practice of deliberately causing pain or destroying body tissue in an attempt to escape overwhelming feelings of stress and emotional pain. While self-harm has always been somewhat present in the adolescent scene, it is becoming increasingly more common as a coping mechanism. Because teens go to great lengths to keep their self-harming behavior a secret, parents should be aware of the warning signs as well as the risk factors that lead to the disorder.

Risk Factors For Self-Harm

Self-harm can affect any teen, regardless of race or socioeconomic status; however, more girls than boys are likely to abuse the practice. Despite how it may seem, self-injury is not necessarily a precursor to suicidal intentions. Rather, it causes the body to release endorphins, resulting in a temporary feeling of numbness or euphoria. While the factors that cause each teen to resort to such painful measures are complex and varied, there are some common triggers to be aware of:

  • Academic pressure
  • Emotional detachment or feelings of invalidation from parents or caregivers.
  • Peer pressure or the inability to feel accepted in a desired social group.
  • Attempting to fit in with peers that idealize dangerous behavior.
  • Difficulty expressing emotions or feelings.
  • Effort to gain some measure of personal control after major life changes like death, divorce or loss of friends.
  • Negative body image.

What Are the Warning Signs of Self-Harming Behavior?

  • Unexplained cuts, burns or other marks on the body.
  • Wearing long sleeves and long pants during warm weather. Teens that self-injure often target parts of the body that can be easily covered up.
  • Elusive or secretive behavior combined with long periods of isolation.
  • A trend or history of self-harming behavior among your teen’s close peer group.
  • Missing items within the home, like razors, safety pins, knives, lighters or matches. Similarly, finding such items stashed in your teen’s room is also a warning sign.
  • Concern from teachers, siblings or other individuals close to your teen that have observed him participating in self-destructive behavior.

What Can I Do To Help My Teen?

If you have discovered that your teen is deliberately harming himself, one of the first things you must do is assess whether or not he is in immediate danger. If so, you should seek emergency medical care. Next, you need to determine what stress or emotional pain is at the core of his need to cope throughout self-injury. In many cases, an adolescent therapist can guide you both through the process of managing existing issues and learning healthier coping skills.

For information about self-harm among teens or a free consultation about your son’s behavior, please contact us at Liahona Academy (1-800-675-8101.)

Parenting Troubled Teens Who Self-Harm

If you have recently discovered that your teen has been participating in self-harming behavior, you are not alone. According to recent studies, around 1 in 10 teens have self-harmed as a way to cope with stress or emotional pain. Self-harm is when individuals deliberately injures themselves, usually through cutting or burning the skin, as a way to force the body to produce endorphins which results in a temporary numbing or euphoric sensation. Because self-harm is such a secretive activity, many parents are unaware that it is happening until it becomes a real problem.

Understanding Why Teens Self-Harm

Self-harm is often misunderstood by those who have never experienced the compulsion. For instance, it does not necessarily indicate a desire to commit suicide. Rather, it is a coping mechanism employed to control painful feelings, cause distraction or externalize internal pain. Many teens think of it as therapeutic, while also recognizing that there is a stigma attached to such actions. Because of this, they are unlikely to tell anyone or seek help on their own.

What Can I Do For My Self Harming Teen?

Guilt, helplessness, anger or even disgust are all natural emotions after you discover that your teen has been self-harming. Learning that your child has deliberately been causing himself injury can be very difficult and unsettling for you. Knowing what to watch for and how to effectively react to your teen can help make the difference in his healing process.

  • Keep an eye out for isolation or secretive behavior in your teen, especially after a negative experience like a fight or a bad day at school.
  • Constantly wearing long sleeves and long pants, especially during warm weather, is a red flag for self-harming behavior. Teens often choose areas of the body, like the arms, legs and abdomen that can easily be covered up.
  • Encourage your teen to talk about things that are upsetting them. Let him know that you are there to help him work through his problems.
  • Be understanding, tolerant and non-judgmental. Regardless of how it seems to you, your teen sees his actions as helpful and therapeutic.
  • Do not order him to stop. While it is tempting to end the behavior any way you can, it is counter-productive and more likely to make him panic. It is more effective to gain his trust and help him develop healthier coping methods. However, if an injury is infected or life threatening, seek medical attention immediately.

Get Professional Help

While there are things you can do to help and support your teen, the most effective way to help him heal is through counseling or therapy with a qualified professional. Your doctor or pediatrician can give you a referral to a therapist that specializes in adolescents and self-destructive behavior. With their help, your son can identify the root of his pain and learn how to manage it in a healthy, non-destructive way.

For more questions about self-harm and the solutions available to you and your teen, please contact us for a free consultation at Liahona Academy 1-800-675-8101.

Choosing a Therapeutic Boarding School That Helps Teens Who Self-Harm

Choosing a therapeutic boarding school that helps teens who self-harm is a big responsibility for parents who just want the best care for their child. When parents discover that their teenager has been physically hurting themselves in a non-suicidal way, it is frightening and scary. Fortunately, once troubled teens get the professional help they need from therapeutic boarding schools, it can change their path from negative to positive. But what do parents need to know about choosing a therapeutic boarding school that helps teens who self-harm?

Why Do Teens Self-Harm?

When teens are struggling, sometimes they resort to behavior known as "self-harm." While self harm can manifest in different ways, it quickly becomes a way for teens to self-soothe. Whenever they face a challenge, stress, worry or anxiety, they resort to self harm. It can be a dangerous and negative downward spiral that requires professional help to overcome.

Here are some of the issues that might cause teens to self-harm:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • Trauma
  • Substance abuse
  • Victim of bullying
  • Mental illness
  • Adoption and abandonment issues

Remember that self -harm is the behavior that is an attempt to overcome an emotional challenge. Teens who are in pain emotionally somehow find relief in physical pain.

What is Self-Harm?

When a teen deliberately and repeatedly hurts themselves without intending suicide, that's considered self-harm. Emotionally hurt, depressed, or out of control teens often resort to self-harm because it releases pressure, calms their emotions and gives them a sense of control over something. Basically, it is an extremely unhealthy coping mechanism that creates more problems than it solves for troubled teens. There is no single type of teen who self-harms, and they can come from every race, ethnicity, sex and class.

There are several things that teens do to self-harm:

  • Cutting
  • Scratching
  • Biting
  • Tearing skin
  • Pulling hair
  • Hitting

No matter how well a troubled teen hides the fact that he or she is self-harming, the troubles that are driving the behavior won't go away until the teen is able to get into therapy and deal with the underlying issues. Therapeutic boarding schools can be an incredible help to self-harming teens, no matter what their individual challenges are.

How Can Therapeutic Boarding Schools Help?

Therapeutic boarding schools are the perfect place for troubled teens who self-harm to get help. They are removed from their current environment and any negative influences and put into a neutral setting where they are safe and secure.

Troubled teen receive group and individual counseling, and participate in a number of activities designed to boost self esteem, make friends, learn responsibility and deal with challenges in a healthy way. Therapeutic boarding schools focus on healing and academics, so that the teen can transition to adulthood happy and healthy.

How Can Parents Choose the Best School?

The most important thing that parents can do when choosing a therapeutic boarding school for teens who self-harm is to verify that the school has success in treating other teens with the same conditions. Therapists at the school should have experience specifically with adolescents who self-harm and the school should be able to put parents in touch with other successful graduates of the program.

Not all teens are alike, nor are their issues, so among other things, parents should make sure the school is a good fit for their teen with regards to size, location, activities and more. The positive healing environment of a therapeutic boarding school is the best place for teens who self-harm to learn new coping skills from trained therapists who can guide them toward healing. When parents choose to enroll their troubled teen who self-harms into a therapeutic boarding school, they are doing what is best for their suffering child.

A Better Look at Teen Self-Harm – Infographic

Teens struggle with many things and often times don't know how to cope. Because of this, teens can develop bad habits and self-harm may be one of the most gruesome. Self-harm is often a way for teens to feel that they have gained some control of their lives during difficult situations. Also, many feel that they have lost the sense of feelings and emotions, in which they turn to self-harm to become a way for them to 'feel' again. The dangers are clear but many teens need the support of loved ones, and even the help from professionals, to kick this dangerous and unhealthy habit.


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