Learning to express difficult emotions like anxiety, frustration, anger, and sorrow can be hard for some people. Whether through fear of reaching out for help or habitually internalizing those emotions, those who find it difficult to cope with troublesome times or people may turn to self-injury as a way to release the pain. Research shows that self-injury and addiction often go hand-in-hand, making dual diagnosis California facilities even more crucial for those battling self-harm or addiction.
Self-injury is the practice of individuals who intentionally hurt themselves, often through cutting, as a release or outlet for their suffering. Contrary to popular belief, self-injury is not a suicide attempt, but rather, a way to seek solace from certain circumstances or perceived difficulties. The most common methods of self-harm include:
- Skin cutting (70-90%),
- Headbanging or hitting (21%-44%)
- Burning (15%-35%)
Most people who engage in self-injury harm themselves in more than one way. While research indicates about 4 percent of adults in the U.S. actively self-injure, the numbers are much higher for adolescents. Approximately 15 percent of teens report some form of self-injury. Studies show an even higher risk for self-harm among college students, with rates ranging from 17 to 35 percent.
Self Injury And Addiction
As a friend, loved one of someone suffering through addiction, it’s important to note that reliance on drugs or alcohol is not self-harm. While the physical results of addiction and self-harm are both harmful to the body, it’s crucial for a professional dual diagnosis California treatment center to treat both conditions.
Certain drugs may cause a person to seek self-harming behaviors more strongly than other substances. The two conditions could be practiced simultaneously, or the individual may alternate between the two behaviors. Both drug abuse and self injury are used as a way to escape pressure, unpleasant experiences and difficult life circumstances. Research indicates adolescents who self-injure, are four times more likely to abuse drugs in young adulthood. In addition, those who practice self-injury are at an increased risk of abusing more than one substance and experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Those who abuse certain types of drugs, particularly amphetamine (like prescription Adderall and Dexedrine, illicit ecstasy) and benzodiazepine (like Valium and Xanax) have been linked to self-harm behaviors. The risk of self-injury is higher in females, especially problem drinkers, who often combine alcohol and self-injury.
Dual Diagnosis California Treatment Center For Self-Injury And Addiction
Self-injury is often a symptom of a mental health disorder, which makes treating the underlying cause a crucial step in stopping the behavior. Dual diagnosis treatment centers, like Ocean Hills Recovery, are dedicated to comprehensive assessment and specialized care. Dual diagnosis is the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of two separate mental or physical diseases or issues. Treating a patient as though self-harm and addiction are one disease will not support the patient through long-lasting recovery.
When a patient enters dual diagnosis treatment with the caring staff at OHR, they will receive the proper care needed to treat each issue. Our dual diagnosis treatment combines social, medical, spiritual, and psychological interventions to ensure the greatest possibility of success in recovery.
It’s important to discover the past or ongoing traumas that trigger self-harm and addiction. Working through the pain and fear of experiences allows the patient to develop healthier ways of dealing with difficult emotions. Without a proper dual diagnosis, the patient is much more likely to fall back on harmful and dangerous coping methods.
Ocean Hills Recovery in Dana Point, CA provides dual diagnosis treatment options for those who abuse substances and harm themselves. The supportive, experienced and compassionate recovery specialists at Ocean Hills Recovery can walk you through the steps of the dual diagnosis program and guide you toward a life of sobriety and good health.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.