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Signs of Self-Harm from Addiction

Self-harm is a serious and often hidden consequence of addiction, posing significant risks to those struggling with substance abuse. Recognizing the signs of self-harm is crucial for timely intervention and effective treatment. Understanding these signs can help save lives and guide individuals toward recovery.

Understanding Self-Harm and Addiction

What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, involves deliberately inflicting pain or damage to one’s own body. This behavior is often a coping mechanism for overwhelming emotions, stress, or mental health issues. Common forms of self-harm include cutting, burning, hitting, and scratching.

The Link Between Addiction and Self-Harm

Addiction and self-harm frequently coexist, as individuals struggling with substance abuse often use self-injury to cope with emotional pain or to express feelings they cannot verbalize. The substances themselves can also lower inhibitions and increase impulsive behaviors, making self-harm more likely. Additionally, the stigma and isolation associated with addiction can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness and lead to self-injurious behavior.

Noticeable Signs of Self-Harm

Physical Signs

Physical signs of self-harm can be varied and often include:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, or burns, especially in areas that can be easily hidden, such as arms, thighs, and torso.
  • Frequent “accidents” or injuries, which might be excuses to explain visible wounds.
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants even in hot weather to cover injuries.
  • Scars in various stages of healing.

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs may include:

  • Avoiding activities that expose the body, such as swimming or changing clothes in front of others.
  • Increased secrecy or isolation, avoiding social interactions and becoming withdrawn.
  • Keeping sharp objects or lighters in easily accessible places.
  • Signs of substance abuse, such as frequent intoxication or evidence of drug paraphernalia.

Emotional Signs

Emotional indicators can be subtle but are crucial to recognize:

  • Expressing feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness.
  • Exhibiting signs of severe anxiety or depression.
  • Mood swings or sudden emotional outbursts.
  • Talking about self-harm or making indirect references to it.

Treatment Programs at Buckeye Recovery Network

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

At Buckeye Recovery Network, we specialize in Dual Diagnosis Treatment, addressing both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety that often accompany self-harm. Our program includes:

  • Personalized Therapy: Individual therapy sessions tailored to address both addiction and mental health issues.
  • Group Therapy: Supportive group settings where individuals can share experiences and learn from others facing similar challenges.
  • Medication Management: Appropriate medications to help stabilize mood and manage mental health symptoms effectively.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is designed for individuals who need structured treatment but also want to maintain their daily responsibilities. Key components include:

  • Regular Therapy Sessions: Both individual and group therapy sessions aimed at addressing the root causes of addiction and self-harm.
  • Life Skills Training: Practical skills to support long-term recovery and help individuals manage stress and emotions without resorting to self-harm.
  • Family Involvement: Family therapy sessions to heal and strengthen relationships, providing a robust support system.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

For those needing more intensive support, our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) offers a higher level of care. This program includes:

  • Comprehensive Assessments: Thorough evaluations to create personalized treatment plans.
  • Daily Therapy Sessions: Intensive therapy sessions that address both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.
  • Holistic Approaches: Incorporation of holistic therapies such as yoga, mindfulness, and art therapy to provide alternative methods for emotional expression and stress management.

Aftercare Services

Recovery is an ongoing journey, and our Aftercare services ensure continued support and resources post-treatment. These services include:

  • Relapse Prevention Plans: Strategies and tools to prevent relapse and maintain sobriety.
  • Support Groups: Access to community support groups for continued encouragement and shared experiences.
  • Continued Therapy: Ongoing individual and family therapy sessions to address any ongoing challenges and reinforce coping skills.

Tips and Support for Families and Friends

Open Communication

Encourage open and honest communication with your loved one. Let them know that you are there to support them without judgment. Create a safe space where they feel comfortable sharing their feelings and struggles.

Educate Yourself

Learn about self-harm and addiction to better understand what your loved one is going through. Knowledge can help you provide informed support and recognize the signs that they might need professional help.

Encourage Professional Help

Gently encourage your loved one to seek professional help. Offer to help them find resources or accompany them to appointments. Professional treatment can provide the specialized care they need to address both addiction and self-harm.

Be Patient and Supportive

Recovery is a long and challenging process. Be patient and offer consistent support. Celebrate their progress, no matter how small, and remind them that setbacks are a natural part of recovery.

Create a Safe Environment

Remove any objects that could be used for self-harm and encourage healthy coping mechanisms. Engage in activities together that promote well-being and reduce stress, such as exercise, hobbies, or mindfulness practices.

Contact Our Team Today

Recognizing the signs of self-harm associated with addiction is the first step toward getting the help needed. At Buckeye Recovery Network in Orange County, we offer comprehensive and compassionate care tailored to each individual’s needs. Our advanced treatment programs, including Dual Diagnosis Treatment, IOP, PHP, and Aftercare services, provide the necessary tools for lasting recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. Share this blog to raise awareness and contact our team for more information on how we can help.


Physical signs include unexplained cuts, bruises, or burns, often in areas that can be easily hidden, such as arms, thighs, and torso.

Self-harm is often used as a coping mechanism for emotional pain and can coexist with addiction, as substances may be used to numb or manage intense emotions.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment addresses both addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders simultaneously, providing comprehensive care for a more effective recovery.

Yes, family involvement can provide a strong support system, help heal relationships, and is an integral part of our treatment programs.

Aftercare services include relapse prevention plans, support groups, and continued therapy sessions to ensure ongoing support and stability in recovery.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.