If you engage in self-harm, you’re probably doing it for a number of reasons. Maybe you can’t properly put into words the problems you face or you use it as a means to cope with overwhelming emotions. Maybe you feel emotionally numb inside and pain is, at the very least, a welcome alternative to numbness. Cutting provides you with a release that you don’t know how to get any other way, so you do it in secret, hiding it from all who love you. Maybe your friend turned you onto the idea and you find that you’re addicted to the rush of adrenaline it provides you. The longer you self-harm, though, the more of a burden it becomes. As anything can trigger you to hurt yourself, you may find that you’re engaging in more and more self-injurious behaviors to keep unwanted feelings away. Slowly, perhaps without realizing it, you’re isolating yourself from once-enjoyed activities, the friends you once cherished, and the family who loves you. Life doesn’t have to revolve around cutting – there are other ways to lead your life.
Pacific Grove Hospital is a 68-bed voluntary behavioral health center that has, through our years of expertise, helped countless men and women aged 18 and up learn the skills needed to stop cutting and start living life again. Our dedicated, compassionate staff will never judge you for your self-injury – we know that the reasons you engaged in cutting are your own and we’ll never look down on you for this. We want to put our years of experience into helping you battle the demons that lead to self-injury and watch you come out the other side victorious.
How to Help a Loved One or Friend Seek Treatment
If your loved one is using self-injury as a means to cope, you’re probably terrified that one day he or she will take it too far and cause irreversible, potentially deadly, damage to his or her body. These worries aren’t unfounded – many people underestimate the deepness of the cut or the brutality of their injuries. You probably have a multitude of emotions coursing through your body all at one – anger, shame, disgust, sadness, guilt, and frustration. You may not understand the purpose and outlet that cutting provides your loved one and simply cannot comprehend the reasons a person would deliberately inflict harm upon themselves. Maybe you’re afraid to bring up the subject, fearful it will make it worse. You should say something and you should help your loved one into treatment. Here are some tips for gently guiding your loved one into treatment for self-harm:
Educate yourself: There are a huge number of reasons a person engages in self-injury and none of them, by definition, involve suicidal ideations. Learn the reasons why your loved one does cut him or herself so that you can better understand the emotional pain he or she is in.
Be gentle and understanding: After you’ve been educated about self-harm, it’s time to talk to your loved one about his or her behavior. While this is a delicate situation, remember that it’s better to speak your mind than not. Gently explain that you’ve spent time researching self-harm and that you understand that this behavior does serve a purpose for your loved one. Be careful when choosing your words – don’t criticize or judge your loved one, cutting is the only way he or she knows to cope right now. Explain that you’re worried about him or her and that you’d like to help in any way you can. Offer to research treatment options and inpatient centers to assist your loved one in learning new and healthy ways to cope with problems.
Offer your love: People who engage in cutting often believe that they are unlovable and inherently flawed. Reassure your loved one that you will love him or her no matter what – cutting or not. Promise – and mean – that you will be there for him or her during his or her journey toward healing and assure him or her that you will always have his or her back.
Why Seek Inpatient Treatment at Pacific Grove Hospital
If you’ve been engaging in cutting, or another form of self-injury, you may have noticed that your urges are growing – almost like an addiction. Much of your time, now, is devoted to self-injury and you may discover that it’s the only way you can obtain relief. Unfortunately, you’ve probably also noted that the relief you gain from self-harm is relatively short-lived. Soon after you cut yourself, you may find that you’re flooded with shame and guilt over your behaviors. You keep these self-harming behaviors to yourself because you just know that no one else can understand. The burden of keeping a secret so large can eat away at you, triggering more episodes of self-harm, and further deepening the shame you feel. It doesn’t have to be this way.
An inpatient treatment program that specializes in treating people who engage in cutting is one of the best ways for you to learn new behaviors and other ways to handle the intense feelings inside you. Inside an inpatient center, you’ll be safe and secure in an atmosphere of healing and surrounded by those who truly understand what recovering from self-injury entails. You’ll be able to escape the triggers and stress of life in your home environment and focus your time on what matters most – your journey toward healing.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
Pacific Grove Hospital understands the complexity of mental illness and the effects of self-harming behaviors and we feel truly privileged to be a part of your treatment and recovery. We understand that no one knows you better than you, which is why you take the central role in guiding the treatment we provide. As we understand that loved ones need to be a part of your care as well, we include your family and loved ones in every aspect of your treatment so they can best support you in your continued recovery. Pacific Grove Hospital isn’t satisfied with simply treating the symptoms you come to us with; we want to understand the root of your problems and create an individualized plan of care that meets all of your needs so that you can emerge from our program a happy, healthy individual.
Treatment Options at Pacific Grove Hospital
When you come to us for care, you’ll first undergo a succession of assessments to assist us in obtaining a full picture of your struggles. The medical evaluation will assess for any medical diagnoses and begin treatment if any are found as well as determine if you are experiencing any physical complications of your self-injury. Our psychiatric evaluation will help us determine the best level of care for your needs as well as diagnose any co-occurring, comorbid mental health disorders. We’ll take the results of these assessments and sit down with you and your loved ones to create an appropriate plan of care for your stay with us that meets all your needs and addresses all of your concerns.
Medication may be used at the beginning of your stay to reduce any anxiety you feel in order to allow you to best engage in your treatment. If you’re experiencing any co-occurring disorders or medical complications, medication may be used in order to manage these problems. Medication is routinely monitored and adjusted by your treatment team as needed.
Individual therapy provides you with the time and space to work privately with a therapist to address your self-injury and co-occurring disorders. You’ll work to understand the root of your cutting behaviors, self-injury triggers, and ways to cope with the urges to self-harm.
Group therapy can be of tremendous value to people who engage in self-injury as they have often lived in social isolation for a long while. The burden of carrying the secret of cutting can cause damage that can be prepared by normal social interaction with others. Disclosing your secret to others struggling with similar challenges can be highly empowering as you learn that you don’t have to live your life in secret any longer.
Family therapy can be very helpful for people who engaged in cutting behaviors as family bonds are often strained during this period. Family sessions will seek to educate your loved ones about self-injury, co-occurring disorders, and teach your loved ones ways they can be supportive of you as you recovery and signs that you may be experiencing a relapse. We’ll also provide loved ones with suggestions and community resources to allow for their continued healing.
As we are concerned with treating the whole person, Pacific Grove Hospital is proud to offer a variety of methods that are designed to complement traditional therapeutic approaches. These include:
- Recreational therapy
- Expressive therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Care
As the time for your discharge looms closer, you and your loved ones will work very closely with your treatment team to create an aftercare plan that allows for a seamless transition and continuity of care. If you need assistance finding reliable housing to ensure that you have a stable home environment, we’ll be able to help you find a place to live. Likewise, if you’re looking for gainful employment, we’ll work with our contacts to see if we can find you an appropriate job. Many of our clients opt to step down from our inpatient program into one of our intense outpatient programs. Our partial hospitalization program (PHP) and our intensive outpatient program (IOP) both offer similar structure to our inpatient care but allow you to return home to your family in the evenings and on weekends. Other clients may have made enough progress that they’re ready to discharge to home with referrals to traditional outpatient therapy and appropriate community resources.