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Drug Abuse and Self-Harm

Drug Abuse and Self-HarmDeliberate self-harm is a growing issue typically associated with teenagers and young adults. Purposely cutting oneself is a common type of self-inflicted injury, but there are several other forms, including the following examples:

  • Burning the skin with matches, cigarettes or hot knives
  • Intentionally picking at wounds or ingesting poisons
  • Using sharp objects to puncture the skin
  • Banging one’s head or fists against hard surfaces
  • Yanking out chunks of hair

Des Moines residents who harm themselves may do so while intoxicated, because substance abuse can contribute to this behavior.

Reasons for Self-Harm

Just as there are many ways to harm oneself, there are also several motivations for doing it, including the following ones:

  • Desperate calls for attention
  • A search for psychological relief
  • To break through emotional numbness
  • Self-punishment for failures or mistakes
  • Retaliation against friends or loved ones

When it comes to self-harm, drugs can play any of the following roles:

  • Affecting a mental health issue behind the acts
  • Facilitating feelings during a strenuous detox
  • Some people abuse dangerous drugs to inflict self-harm
  • The side effects of certain drugs actually encourage self-harm

Regarding the last role, benzodiazepines like Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan can motivate self-destructive behaviors, including acts of self-harm and suicide. This motivation can also emerge during benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome, which is a drawn-out series of symptoms that can occur if an addict quits the drug abruptly.

Self-Harm and Mental Health

Des Moines residents who deliberately injure themselves may have a history of neglect, trauma or abuse. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, self-harm is also commonly associated with the following mental health conditions:

  • Impulse control disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders

Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can also encourage self-inflicted injuries. Nevertheless, treatment for such behaviors addresses all the motivating factors together.

Treatment for Addiction and Self-Harm

Des Moines residents who suffer from addiction, mood disorders or self-harming impulses need professional help. Since these conditions often co-exist, rehab centers specialize in addressing all issues simultaneously. This type of integrated care includes the following aspects:

  • Medically supervised detox to mitigate withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental health screenings to identify mood disorders and emotional issues
  • Psychodynamic therapies to resolve unconscious conflicts and struggles
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to produce healthier and more positive outlooks on life
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to instill emotional stability and new coping skills
  • Address trauma and underlying conditions behind unhealthy behaviors
  • Identify situations and emotions that trigger both the drug abuse and self-harm
  • Group counseling to develop support and to express emotions
  • Aftercare help to foster recovery and address setbacks

Professionals recommend other treatments based on each Des Moines patient. These include the possible use of medications, family therapy sessions and, in extreme situations, short-term psychiatric hospitalization.

Help for Des Moines Drug Addicts with Self-Harm Behaviors

Do you or a Des Moines loved one need help? If so, know that our counselors are available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline; they can discuss warning signs, treatment methods, facility options and special needs. We can also help plan interventions and check health insurance policies for treatment coverage. The risks are too high to let these behaviors continue, so please call us now.