Self-harm describes a category of behaviors that are undertaken with the intention of inflicting pain and/or damage onto one’s own body. Among the more common types of self-harm are cutting, pinching, or burning one’s own skin; hitting one’s head against a wall or other hard object; punching oneself; breaking one’s own bones; and drinking caustic, poisonous, or otherwise harmful substances such as bleach or laundry detergent. Self-harm, which is also sometimes referred to as self-mutilation or self-injury, can be an extremely dangerous behavior, but it is not performed with the intention of causing one’s own death. The behavior may be symptomatic of an underlying mental health condition, and it often done as a means of exerting control or giving physical presence to emotional turmoil or psychological pain.
At Covington Behavioral Health Hospital, we understand the many issues that may affect an individual who struggles with self-harm, and we recognize the many ways that self-harm can impact an individual’s physical and psychological health. Perhaps most importantly, we have developed specialized programming at our hospital that is designed to help adult overcome the compulsion to engage in this dangerous and self-destructive behavior.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Discovering that someone that you care about has been engaging in self-injury or self-harm can prompt a variety of unpleasant emotions as you attempt come to terms with this behavior. It is perfectly understandable to be worried, concerned, or even frustrated, but you should not feel that you are helpless to make a difference. Please consider the following:
- Educate yourself about self-harm. This will help you to understand what your loved one has been experiencing and will give you insights into possible reasons why he or she has been engaging in this behavior.
- Talk to your loved one. Describe your observations and express your concern. Expect denial, and perhaps even anger. It can be extremely difficult for your loved one to talk about this problem. Do not pressure him or her; instead repeat your concern and reiterate your willingness to discuss the matter when your loved one is ready.
- Research the types of treatment that have helped others who were engaging in self-harm, and identify hospitals and centers that provide the type and level of care that seems best suited to meeting your loved one’s unique needs.
- Volunteer to make appointments, provide transportation, accompany your loved one to meetings with healthcare professionals, and provide any additional logistical and moral support that will help your loved one get professional help at a hospital or center for self-harm.
- Be realistic. Self-harm is not a simple problem to solve. Regardless of the type of treatment that your loved one receives, recovery will be a long-term effort.
Ultimately, remember that your loved one should not be defined by his or her problems. He or she is the same person that you have always known. While you may need to learn new skills or strategies in order to best support his or her ongoing recovery, the best thing that you can do is remain the concerned, compassionate, and supportive friend or family member that you have always been.
Why Consider Treatment at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital
Persistent untreated self-harm can have devastating effects on a person’s physical and psychological health and can lead to myriad negative outcomes. Individuals who feel compelled to harm themselves are also likely to be experiencing powerful feelings of guilt and shame, which can deepen their already pervasive sense of self-hatred. Because self-harm is such a secretive behavior, people who harm themselves are likely to pull away from the friends and family members who will notice that something is wrong and who can provide essential support. Self-injury and secrecy about one’s physical wellbeing may lead to untreated injuries, which can turn into infections, tissue and/or nerve damage, and even organ damage. With both body and mind negatively impacted by the continuing untreated compulsion to engage in self-harm, people may find it extremely difficult to meet their personal, academic, occupational, financial, and social responsibilities. As a person descends into deeper degrees of shame, pain, and frustration, the likelihood increases that they will engage in additional dangerous behaviors such as substance abuse, which can expose them to exponentially greater physical and psychological harm. Yet with the effective comprehensive treatment that is available at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital, men and women who have been engaging in self-harm can stop the damage, overcome the urge to inflict additional harm, and become empowered to lead healthier, more productive, and more satisfying lives.
Types of Treatment Offered at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital
Covington Behavioral Health Hospital is a 60-bed residential treatment center that provides personalized, comprehensive care for adult men and women, ages 18 and above, who have experienced acute changes in their emotional and mental wellbeing and are in need of psychiatric stabilization.
At Covington Behavioral Health Hospital, care for men and women who have been engaging in self-harm is provided by multidisciplinary teams of talented and dedicated professionals, including psychiatrists, medical psychologists, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, counselors, activity therapists, and mental health technicians. Among the members of our center’s staff who have specialized training are our full-time staff dietitian, social workers who are certified in gerontology, and physicians certified in forensic psychiatry and addictionology.
The care that our patients receive at our center incorporates a variety of treatment techniques and therapeutic modalities, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). We place a premium on conducting thorough assessments on each patient at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital to ensure that we are able to develop individualized treatment plans that address each person’s specific strengths, needs, and treatment goals.
Each patient’s time at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital will be a unique experience based upon his or her specific strengths and needs. Depending upon those unique factors, a patient’s treatment at our center may include the following elements:
Medication management: Some individuals who have been engaging in self-harm may benefit from having certain prescription medications incorporated into their treatment plans at our center. Covington patients who meet this description will have the opportunity to meet with our psychiatrist and nursing staff on a regular basis to receive medication management services.
Detoxification: Covington Behavioral Health Hospital is not a substance abuse treatment center; however, we do understand that prospective patients may have struggled with substance abuse in addition to the compulsion to engage in self-harm. To best serve these individuals at our center, we provide detox services for individuals who been abusing alcohol, prescription painkillers, and certain other drugs. After they have rid their bodies of the substances that they have been abusing, detox patients will transfer directly into residential treatment to receive care for their mental health disorders.
Individual therapy: Patients in the inpatient program may meet with a member of our social service staff (LCSW, LMSW, LPC, or PLPC) or nursing staff (RN or LPN) for individual therapy as needed. Individual therapy allows patients to address issues that they may be hesitant to bring up during group sessions, provides them with one-on-one feedback and guidance from experienced professionals, and helps them to develop effective skills for managing the compulsion to engage in self-harm.
Group therapy: Group therapy sessions are fundamental elements of treatment at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital. Group therapy provides a structured yet dynamic environment in which participants can share their insights and experiences, learn from the contributions of fellow patients, and practice healthy interpersonal skills such as effective communication, empathy, and giving and receiving support. The following are among the groups that a patient who is being treated for self-harm at our center may participate in during his or her time at Covington:
- Activity groups
- Creative therapy groups
- Dietary groups
- Process groups
- Psychoeducation groups
Group therapy sessions, which are typically offered at least five times during each treatment day at our center, are led by nurses, activity therapists, mental health technicians, and members of our social services staff.
Family therapy: At Covington Behavioral Health Hospital, we understand that an individual’s struggles with self-harm may impact his or her entire family. With family therapy, loved ones of Covington patients have the opportunity to address how they have been affected by the patient’s mental health problems, learn how to strengthen family bonds and improve intra-familial relationships, and develop the skills that will allow them to provide the best possible support as their loved one continues in recovery following the residential phase of his or her treatment at our center. Family therapy sessions at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital are typically conducted by the patient’s case manager and may be scheduled on an as-needed basis or by request.
Discharge planning: We provide robust discharge planning services to ensure that each patient and his or her family has a thorough plan that identifies the referrals, community-based services, and other support services that will put the patient in the best position to maintain and improve upon the progress that he or she made while in treatment for self-harm at Covington Behavioral Health Hospital.
At Covington Behavioral Health Hospital, our ultimate goal is to provide the focused, effective, and personalized care that can improve the quality of life for all who are entrusted into our care. For more information about our center’s services, please do not hesitate to contact us at your convenience. We look forward to answering all of your questions and helping you determine if Covington Behavioral Health Hospital is the perfect place for you or your loved one.