Self-harm, also called self-injury or cutting, is an impulse control disorder that involves deliberately hurting oneself. This self-mutilating behavior is not done as an attempt to ends one’s life, instead it is an unhealthy way some individuals use to cope with emotional pain, frustration, and anger. While injuring oneself can bring about a sense of peace and well-being, this is only temporary and is usually followed by shame and guilt. Since this way of coping only brings about short-term relief, the underlying emotions and issues are never resolved. Even though these behaviors are not intended as a suicidal act, self-injury can lead to serious, even fatal consequences.
At Vantage Point, we are dedicating to treating children, adolescents, men, women, and older adults who are struggling with a variety of mental health and substance abuse disorders. If you are engaging in self-harm you are likely struggling with distressing emotions. The wonderful staff at Vantage Point will be able to show you healthier ways of coping with your pain so that you are able to stop hurting yourself. Together we can help you overcome these painful emotions, allowing you to once again lead a happy life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Finding out that a loved one engages in self-harming behaviors can leave you feeling confused, worried, and afraid. You may be shocked that your loved one could do that to themselves and may want to help them, but may be at a loss for what it is you can do. Below is a list of some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when trying to help someone who self-harms:
- Be a good listener and let your loved one speak without interruption
- Take the time to learn about self-harm
- Be honest with your loved ones
- Respect their feelings
- Get help for yourself
- Panic when you find out about the self-harm
- Assume that people who self-harm are looking to commit suicide
- Blame your loved one for the way they are feeling
- Expect a quick fix
Another thing you can do, that can tremendously help your loved one during this difficult period of their life, is to take some initiative in finding mental health services and resources in your area. Without proper treatment and support, many individuals are unable to stop harming themselves. By taking advantage of local mental health services you will be able to get information about treatment options and get them the help they need. Finally, make sure that you are there throughout the whole process to support your loved one.
Why Consider Treatment at Vantage Point
While self-harm serves a specific purpose for some people, it is only a short-term fix for a long-term problem. Initially self-harm provides an individual with an immediate release of tension. But eventually, it can lead to far worse problems as the underlying emotional causes never get addressed. Over time, as you come to rely on cutting to cope with distressed feelings the frequency of this behavior may increase, leading to more physical damage. While you are not intentionally trying to end your life, some of the wounds can be severe enough to cause severe permanent damage or death. Additionally, you may have become socially isolated from friends and family as you try to keep your self-harm a secret.
An inpatient treatment program that has experience treating a wide range of mental health issues as well as self-harming behaviors can be very beneficial for helping some people learn how to cope with their emotions and stop engaging in this harmful behavior. By entering into an inpatient program, you will be able escape from the stress of daily life and place all of your energy into getting better. Additionally, through an inpatient treatment program people will be able to engage in a number of different therapeutic methods and get any medication that they may need. With proper treatment and support you can get control of your life back.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
At Vantage Point, we provide a full continuum of behavioral health and addiction treatment services for children, adolescents, adults, and seniors that are in need of care. We are dedicated to providing each of our clients confidential care in a caring environment designed to promote crisis resolution, positive self-awareness, and personal growth. Our highly qualified staff provides care 24-hours a day to help ensure the safety of each and every individual in our programs. Throughout all of our programs, our main goal is to stabilize patients and get them back to their highest level of functioning so they can return to their community as quickly as possible.
Types of Treatment Offered at Vantage Point
When you arrive at Vantage Point, you will meet with an assessment specialist who will conduct a comprehensive evaluation in order to determine your current needs. Once the evaluation is complete, the assessor will consult with one of our psychiatrists to determine your most appropriate level of care. Treatment is offered under the medical direction and supervision of our psychiatrists and administered by our nurses, social workers, therapists, recreational specialists, special education teachers, and other mental health professionals. Some of the therapeutic methods we use to treat self-harm include:
Medication management: There is not a medication that is specifically used to treat self-harm, but medications may be used to treat some of the symptoms of depression or anxiety that may be present. Over time as an individual learns to better cope with their emotions, medication can be tapered down or even eliminated. In some instances individuals battling co-occurring disorders may need a longer-term medication plan.
Individual therapy: Each patient receives at least one individual session per week, but can receive more sessions as needed. During individual therapy, you will work with a therapist to get at the underlying cause for your self-harming behavior. Additionally, you can learn better coping skills, learn to identify what triggers you to self-harm, and process through the feelings you have afterwards.
Group therapy: Group therapy can be very helpful for those struggling with self-injury as it provides them with an opportunity to gain additional support while connecting with others who are struggling with similar issues. Additionally, since self-harm is a secretive behavior and as such many individuals have become socially isolated, group therapy allows them time to work on newly developed social skills. At Vantage Point, we hold multiple groups that focus on a number of different topics such as mood management and social skills.
Family therapy: Having someone in the family who self-harms can create an atmosphere of tension among family members. Family therapy is held at least once a week and is there to help mend some of the bonds that may have been broken and allows all members of the family time to express their personal emotions.
In addition to our traditional therapies we offer a number of experiential programs. Some of these include:
- Expressive therapy
- School-based programming (for children and adolescents)
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
The discharge planning process for each patient begins as soon as they are admitted to Vantage Point. This way we are able to ensure that when they are ready to leave the inpatient program, a plan is already in place. Before you leave our inpatient center, you will meet with one of our care coordinators who will be able to provide you with a number of outpatient treatment options for your next step in the recovery process.
Some clients may require additional treatment such as a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) or an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Through these programs, clients are able to benefit from a number of different services including: individual therapy, group sessions, family therapy, and medication management. This program allows individuals the opportunity to still get the treatment they need while slowly integrating back into their daily lives. For those who feel that they have made enough progress in the inpatient program to be discharged home, they can participate in our traditional outpatient program. We have three different outpatient locations each one providing outpatient counseling, case management, school-based services, and medication management. Whatever your continued needs are the staff at Vantage Point will do their best to ensure they are being met.