Self Harming


Self-Harming in Lexington, Richmond & Frankfort KY

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What is Self-Harming?

Self-harming, also known as self-mutilation, occurs when someone intentionally and repeatedly harms herself/himself. Self-harming is typically not meant as a suicide attempt, but rather as an unhealthy way to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration. The relief that comes from self-harming usually doesn’t last long – it’s merely a temporary release for a bigger problem.

Signs & Symptoms

Because clothing can hide physical injuries and inner turmoil can be covered up by a seemingly calm disposition, self-harming can be difficult to detect. However, there are warning signs you can look for as listed below:
  • Scars
  • Fresh cuts, scratches, bruises or other wounds
  • Excessive rubbing of an area to create a burn
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather
  • Difficulties in interpersonal relationships
  • Poor functioning at work, school or home.
  • Behavioral and emotional instability, impulsivity and unpredictability
  • Statements of helplessness, hopelessness or worthlessness
Self-harming usually occurs in private and is done in a controlled or ritualistic manner that often leaves a pattern on the skin. Examples of self-harm include:
  • Cutting (cuts or severe scratches with a sharp object)
  • Scratching
  • Burning (with lit matches, cigarettes or hot, sharp objects like knives)
  • Carving words or symbols on the skin
  • Hitting or punching
  • Piercing the skin with sharp objects
  • Pulling out hair
  • Persistently picking at or interfering with wound healing
  • Most frequently, the arms, legs and front of the torso are the targets of self-injury, but any area of the body may be used for self-injury. 
  • Many people self-injure only a few times and then stop. But for others, self-injury can become a long-term, repetitive behavior.
  • Although rare, some young people may self-injure in public or in groups to bond or to show others that they have experienced pain.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options

There's no one best way to treat self-harming behavior, but the first step is to tell someone you trust so you can get help. Treatment is based on your specific issues and any related mental health conditions you might have, such as depression.

Because self-harming can become a major aspect of life, a combination of psychotherapy, medication and psychiatric hospitalization is needed for treatment. If the self-harming behavior is also associated with a mental health disorder, such as depression or borderline personality disorder, the treatment plan focuses on treating those disorders, as well as the self-harming behavior.

Psychotherapy serves to identify the underlying issues that trigger self-harming behavior. It also allows you to develop healthy techniques for coping with feelings, stress or difficult situations. Individual therapy sessions, as well as family or group therapy sessions can aid in treating self-harming behavior.

Several types of individual psychotherapy may be helpful, including:
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones
  • Dialectical behavior therapy, a type of CBT that teaches behavioral skills to help you tolerate distress, manage or regulate your emotions, and improve your relationships with others
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy, which focuses on identifying past experiences, hidden memories or interpersonal issues at the root of your emotional difficulties through self-examination, guided by a therapist
  • Mindfulness-based therapies, which help you live in the present, appropriately perceive the thoughts and actions of those around you to reduce your anxiety and depression, and improve your general well-being
Medications: There are no medications to specifically treat self-harming behavior; however, if you're diagnosed with a mental health condition, such as depression or an anxiety disorder, your doctor may recommend antidepressants or other medications to treat the underlying disorder.

Psychiatric Hospitalization: If you injure yourself severely or repeatedly, your doctor may recommend that you be admitted to a hospital for psychiatric care. Hospitalization, often short term, can provide a safe environment and more intensive treatment until you get through a crisis.

There Is Hope!

Treatment is available for people who injure themselves. With the right help and treatment, you can reach a point where you do not feel the desire to hurt yourself anymore. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call our office today. 

New Client Info
Lexington, KY

Darby Creek Location
501 Darby Creek Road
Suite 11
Lexington KY, 40509
Phone: 859-338-0466
Fax: 859-294-0802

Recent Posts
By Paul Dalton 05 Feb, 2016
So you live in Kentucky and only a few more weeks until spring. Everyone should be happy and feel better about that, right? I think most of us get a sense of relief and hope, and that cognitive energy to bust out of the winter season and get moving. For some, the spring can be a rough time. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and relationship issues prevent the spring season from being all that it could be. Following are some reasons that these and other conditions may worsen in the spring, a few resources for you, and some concrete strategies you can implement to help yourself. 

So why do people struggle some in the spring when it should be all flowers and sunshine? 

1. Sleep
Many times the spring season causes a change in our circadian rhythm . The sun wakes you up in the am, it is difficult to keep a routine, and restlessness all contribute to the sleep problem. Our eating in the winter and spring can affect how much we sleep. Caffeine, napping, undereating, and how much we are moving, all contribute to how much we sleep. Spring likely has an effect on melatonin in the body, which aids in sleep. 

Strategies that help are EXERCISE and EATING RIGHT! If you keep moving with the help of  a tool like a Fitbit or utilize regular exercise of 45 minutes or more 4-5 times per week, you are far less likely to have sleep problems. Exercise helps you sleep. Exercise helps you eat better. Eating and sleeping adequately can reduce your stress and fight any symptoms you may have. Eating healthy keeps your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place. When your body is well, your mind has a great chance of being well too. Sounds too simple? Give it a try!

The sleep foundation can help here :  Sleep Foundation Healthy Sleep Tips
Eating Right For Spring
Here is a good link to read on symptoms getting worse in the spring: Spring Makes Symptoms Worse

2. Spring Fever is Real
Our office has existed for over 15 years now. I can tell you that March to May is our busiest time of the year, always. Bipolar disorder, marital infidelity, depression, and anxiety are the main reasons people call us in the spring. The real causes of spring fever include longer days that produce more sunshine and increased energy, changes in hormone production, sleep cycles, nutrition and diet changes, body needs, and possibly, a lack of self care. When we bust of out winter here in Kentucky we sometimes forget that it takes a little time to get our minds and bodies in shape for yard work, spring cleaning, and for many, an increased workload all the way around. Here are some links to let you know spring fever is real. 

Spring Fever
WEB MD-You Give Me Spring Fever
Wiki Spring Fever
Spring Time Bad for Depression

3. Expectations Are High

Sometimes in spring we have been thinking about all the things we should of, could of, would of done if we had lived in San Diego or Florida during our winter days. The reality of being human can set in when we find out that spring has sprung, it is time to get moving, and we don't have the energy or drive to complete our list of high expectations. Many people are disappointed in themselves and these outcomes. Don't worry about it. 

Strategies you can use include setting small attainable goals you can feel good about. Work on your list a little at a time. Make goals that regular people can reach with time built in for you to EXERCISE AND SLEEP. Do a mix of things that you enjoy and are healthy for you while completing your responsibilities. If you deny yourself from pleasure too long, that strategy is likely to backfire. Have a good balanced approach. Use a checklist that has 3 sections. One section is for today. One section is for the week. Reserve one part of the list for things your are really wanting to do. Put a vacation or planned fun activities on a calendar. Look up things you might want to do during that time online. Planning, thinking and dreaming are fine. They keep us hopeful. 

Tiny Buddha Expectations and Disappointment
Expectations at The Silent Blog
Three Ways Expectations Can Hurt You

4. Allergies

If you live in Kentucky, you know about allergies. Kentucky is known to be one of the worst states when it comes to spring and fall allergies.  Louisville is ranked as one of the worst cities in the entire country to live in due to allergies.   Many times people are unaware they are being affected. Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious than a runny nose, cough, and cold like symptoms. Many times people are lethargic, grouchy, have headaches, and have cognitive deficits. The allergic affect we have in Kentucky can quickly turn into a sinus infection, bronchitis, ear infections, and other maladies that make us mentally and physically drained. That flower below can cause us some issues! 

Get to a doctor. Take a seasonal allergy medication. Some are mild, like Allegra (please get your physician's approval before taking allergy medications) and can be taken everyday. Prescription nose sprays may help, but may also have some cognitive or mood altering side effects. Be careful, but don't suffer! Get help from an allergist if you need it. 

Allergy Resources
Pollen Map
How to Beat Spring Allergies by WEB MD
By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Welcome to our website!

Therapy is a great choice. It works, and I hope you make a commitment today to start. Most people find the idea of attending therapy with a therapist or counselor far more scary than the actual process itself. Here is a link that describes how the process works at our locations.

Our therapists are located in Lexington, Frankfort and Richmond, KY. See individual profiles of our therapy providers here . I hire our professionals personally and attempt to provide you with someone that will care about your outcome and treat you well. These are experts at counseling and therapy and provide services you will want to tell others about.

Our clinicians care, and you will know they are different in that respect. Providing therapy in Central Kentucky is much more than a job to our therapists. It is a profession, and a way of life.

Please let us help you today!   Contact us here   or at 859.338.0466 now.

Sincerely,

Paul D. Dalton, MS, LPCC, CADC

More Posts
What is therapy?

Therapy is more long-term than counseling and focuses on a broader range of issues. The underlying principle is that a person's patterns of thinking and unconscious awareness affect the way that person interacts with the world. The goal is to uncover those patterns and become aware of their effect and then learn new, healthier ways to think and interact.
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