Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Causes, Symptoms & Effects of Self-Harm

Cedar Crest Hospital & Residential Treatment Center helps individuals who are struggling with self-harm find long-term recovery. Located in Belton, TX, Cedar Crest is the leader in mental health care.

Understanding Self-Harm

Learn about self-harm

Self-injury, or self-harm, is an act in which an individual intentionally harms their own body through a number of different methods such as cutting or burning. This behavior is not typically meant as a suicidal act, but is an unhealthy way in which an individual copes with emotional pain, intense anger, or serious frustration. However, there are times that some people unintentionally hurt themselves badly enough to cause death. While in the moment self-harm brings an individual a sense of calm and release of tension, after a short period of time those feelings are replaced by feelings of guilt and shame before the original painful emotions return. While the most common form of self-injury is cutting, other forms of self-harm may include:

  • Burning
  • Hitting or punching
  • Carving into the skin
  • Breaking bones
  • Biting
  • Piercing the skin
  • Pulling out hair
  • Constantly picking at or interfering with a healing wound

Usually individuals will target the legs, arms, and front torso for their mutilating behavior because these areas can be easily reached and hidden under clothing.

There are a variety of reasons why an individual may self-injure and the mixture of emotions that may trigger self-injury are very complicated. Some engage in cutting to cope with emotional pain and distress, especially feelings of self-hatred, worthlessness, loneliness, panic, rejection, confused sexuality, guilt, and sadness. It can be very confusing for someone who does not engage in self-injury to understand this behavior. Through engaging in self-harm, a person may be trying to:

  • Provide a distraction from distressing emotions
  • Manage or reduce severe distress or anxiety
  • Feel a needed sense of control over his or her body, feelings, and/or life circumstances
  • Punish him or herself for perceived faults
  • Externally express internal emotions
  • Feel anything at all – even physical pain – when he or she feels empty inside
  • Communicate depression or other distressing feelings to the external world

Self-harm is most often a behavior that one engages in behind locked doors. While self-injury may help some people cope with their problems, unfortunately the relief they experience is short-lived and tends to eventually only make matters worse. The good news is that with the proper therapy, medication, and self-care, most people who engage in self-injury are able to recover.

Statistics

Self-harm statistics

Since most individuals who engage in self-injurious behavior keep their habit a secret, the statistics for self-injury are likely skewed. In the United States, each year approximately 2 million cases of self-harm are reported. Most people who cut begin to self-injure in the teen years— 90% of people who engage in this behavior begin during these years. Each year, one in five women and one in seven men engage in some form of self-injury.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for self-harm

It’s thought that self-harming behaviors are not the result of one single factor but rather a number of causes and risk factors. The most common causes for self-injury may include the following:

Genetic: Many mental illnesses that can trigger cutting urges, such as borderline personality disorder and depression, are thought to have genetic components. People who are born into families that have a history of mental illness are at a greater risk for developing the disorder themselves.

Physical: A great number of mental illnesses lead to imbalances in the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved in emotional regulation. People with these imbalances may self-injure in order to experience any emotions at all. Additionally, physical injury to the body results in a flood of pleasurable chemicals into the body.

Environmental: People who experienced abuse, especially as a child, are at a greater risk for self-injury later in life. These people may not have been able to express their emotions in a healthy way as children and use self-injury as a means to express their overwhelming emotions and cope with the trauma.

Risk Factors:

  • Being female
  • Being in teens and early 20s – most people who cut themselves often begin as teenagers and young adults
  • Having friends who also self-injure
  • Unstable personal identity or sexuality
  • Mental health disorders
  • Drug and alcohol abuse and addiction

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of self-harm

Since the methods of self-injury vary, it can be hard to determine if your loved one is engaging in self-injury. Some common symptoms of self-injury include:

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Wearing long pants or long-sleeved shirts even in the summer
  • Claiming to have frequent “accidents”
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Challenges with interpersonal relationships
  • Keeping sharp objects on hand
  • Withdrawing from social situations and other people
  • Unpredictable behaviors
  • Impulsivity and unpredictability
  • Bloody clothing, towels, or bedding

Physical Symptoms:

  • Scars from burns or cuts
  • Fresh scratches or cuts
  • Bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Bruises
  • Patches of missing hair

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Persistent questions about personal identity
  • Thoughts of helplessness, hopelessness, or worthlessness

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Emotional numbing
  • Emotional instability
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Increasing anxiety, especially when unable to self-injure
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Disgust

Effects

Effects of self-harm

Even though self-injury is not considered a suicidal act, it can still leave an individual with a vast number of long term effects. The consequences associated with self-injury can range from minor irritations to extremely serious injury and death. It is extremely important that people who self-injure seek treatment from a qualified professional as soon as possible in order to reduce the risk of any further or permanent damage. Effects from self-harm will depend upon the way in which an individual has chosen to harm themselves, but the most common long-term effects include:

  • Scarring
  • Injured tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and muscles
  • Permanent weakness or numbness in certain areas such as the hand
  • Loss of a limb
  • Brain damage
  • Organ damage
  • Broken bones
  • Social isolation
  • Feelings of shame, disgust, and guilt
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Worsening mental health conditions
  • Worsening physical health
  • Loss of interpersonal relationships
  • Infections
  • Septicemia
  • Suicide or suicidal behaviors
  • Accidental death

Co-Occurring Disorders

Self-harm and co-occurring disorders

Many people who self-injure struggle with a variety of mental health disorders. The most common mental illnesses that tend to be present in someone who self-harms include the following:

  • OCD
  • Trauma
  • PTSD
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Substance abuse and addiction
  • Schizophrenia

Take a Free Online Assessment

My daughter continued to engage in self-harming behaviors. I felt lost. Then we got treatment at Cedar Crest, where they were able to give her healthier alternatives and get to the root cause of her problems.

– Parent of Anonymous Patient
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