Examples Of Self-Harming Behavior That Should Prompt You To Seek Mental Health Counseling

Self harming is a serious mental health issue for which you should seek immediate care. While you shouldn't hesitate to visit a hospital if your immediate health or safety is being threatened by this behavior, you should also consider follow-up treatment with a mental health counselor to help you deal with this issue. Browsing the mental health professionals in your area should allow you to find someone who specializes in self-harming behaviors; you may also wish to consult your family doctor for a referral. Here are some examples of self-harming behavior that should compel you to seek help.

Physical Harming

Many people who struggle with self-harming behavior will overtly hurt their bodies. This behavior can come in several forms. For example, a person may use a knife, a shard of glass, or another sharp object to poke, stab, or slice their body. Another similar behavior involves burning — some people will take a hot object, such as a lighter or a match, and press it against their skin to cause pain. These behaviors are highly dangerous and are indicative of a mental health issue, so it's imperative to get treatment if you have performed these things in the past or have felt a compulsion to perform them.

Eating Issues

Another form of self-harming behavior can relate to how you approach food. While you might not feel that you have a typical eating disorder per se, your behavior with food may be compromising your health. This goes beyond simply eating unhealthy. Instead, you might actively seek out foods that you know are problematic for your health. For example, perhaps you've been diagnosed as having celiac disease, which means that you cannot consume gluten. A self-harming behavior might be to purposely eat foods that contain gluten, with the intention of using these foods to make yourself feel badly.

Other Risky Behaviors

Self-harming behavior can come in several other forms. For example, you might seek out unprotected sexual activity with partners you don't know, caring little about the negative consequences that this behavior could result in. You may also abuse drugs or alcohol; many mental health professionals consider some forms of substance abuse to be self-harming behavior, given that the person knows that the habit is detrimental but continues to do it. With any of the above issues, an appointment with a mental health professional can be the first step toward improving your health and putting these dangerous behaviors behind you.

For more information, reach out to mental health service providers like Dr. Stephen Brown & Associates.