For individuals experiencing PTSD and self injury, self-harm may be a way for the individual to manage emotions such as anger, sadness or fear. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder which affects millions of Americans each year. It occurs as a result of witnessing or experiencing a traumatic event and can be a life-long issue without treatment. Symptoms of PTSD can include reliving the event such as experiencing the same fear or horror, nightmares, or flashbacks at sights or sounds which are similar to those experienced during the traumatic event. People with PTSD may avoid situations which remind them of the traumatic event such as crowds or driving.
Feelings of emotional numbness are also common and this is another way to avoid experiencing the memories over again. Individuals suffering from PTSD may distance themselves from relationships with friends or loved ones and may stop doing activities they enjoyed before the incident. Feelings of jitteriness, anger, irritability may occur and they may find they startle much more easily than before. Other feelings may include shame, despair, or hopelessness, anxiety, depression, or problems sleeping. PTSD and self-injury or self-mutilation may also occur as a means of suppressing or expressing emotions.
Self-injury is the act of injuring or altering the body without the intent of ending life and can include biting, puncturing, burning, picking, bruising, or embedding things in the skin in addition to pulling hair, hitting oneself, putting pressure on the eyes, or the breaking of bones. Those that self-harm may do so to stop feeling emotional numbness or distress, to punish themselves, to reduce emotional or chronic physical pain, and are attempting to temporarily find a physical solution to an emotional issue. Those who suffer from other mental disorders such as PTSD are at increased likelihood for self-injurious behavior and the self-harm may become cyclic. This behavior is not intended to gain attention and those who self-harm generally go out of their way to avoid their behavior being detected. Those with PTSD and self injury are likely attempting to cope with overwhelming, painful emotions.
Traumatic events such as sexual assault or abuse and physical abuse are linked with PTSD and self-injury. For individuals with PTSD and self injury, self-harm can be a way for the individual to manage or express emotions such as shame, guilt, fear, sorrow, rage or even feelings of numbness. Those with PTSD and self injury may use self-mutilation as a way to stop themselves from reliving their traumatic experiencing by grounding themselves in the present self-inflicted pain. This can become a compulsive behavior that results in further self-harm as the shame, guilt, and unhappiness from the visible side effects of self-mutilation can cause great shame and guilt in themselves and can increase the severity of self-inflicted harm as incidents progress.
If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD and self-injury it is best to seek help from a mental health provider. Diagnosis and treatment can help sufferers feel and function better on a day-to-day basis and avoid many of the risks involved with both disorders. Common treatments for these disorders include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, and other forms of psychotherapy used alone or together. Additional treatment with prescription medications is sometimes required for short periods until the individual has time to learn the skills and tools therapy can provide. Medication is not always necessary and psychotherapy alone has been proven effective in the treatment of both conditions.
Because our treatment for depression and anxiety programs rely on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies. Unfortunately, in Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide. Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment.
Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful. People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.