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Types of Self Harm

teen girl looks out into the distance thinking about the types of self harm

Self-harm is a term used to describe any behavior that harms one’s body. This harm can include anything from cutting and burning to binge-eating and purging. While self-harm may seem like an outward sign of emotional distress, it often serves as a way to cope with or avoid difficult emotions. Unfortunately, self-harm can quickly become addictive and damaging, both physically and emotionally.

If you suspect that your teen is harming themselves, it’s important to get help right away. At HillsidesCares, we strive to provide parents with the information they need to help catch these behaviors before it is too late. Our dialectical behavior therapy services can help to curb these habits in teens and help them re-discover a healthier and more balanced mental state. Contact our team today at 323.641.4842 for more information.

The Prevalence of Depression in Teens

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 11% of adolescents in the United States suffer from depression. There are a variety of reasons why teens might suffer from depression, including genetics, problems at home, and bullying.

Depression is a severe mental health condition that can lead to various problems if left untreated. Teens who are depressed might engage in self-harm behaviors, like cutting or burning themselves. They might also have issues with school or relationships with friends and family. Some indicators that your teen is showing signs of depression are:

  • Withdrawing from friends and activities they once enjoyed
  • Talking about wanting to die or hurt themselves
  • Expressing feelings of hopelessness
  • Feeling excessively angry, irritable, or aggressive
  • Abusing drugs or alcohol
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits

If you think your teen might be depressed, it’s crucial to seek help. Talk to your teen’s doctor or contact a mental health professional. Many treatments are available for depression, so there’s no need to suffer in silence.

Types of Self-Harm

There are various types of self-harm that teens may inflict on themselves. Parents and caregivers should be aware of various kinds of self-harm.


One type of self-harm is cutting. Cutting is one of the most common types of self-harm that teens engage in, and in modern society, this trend is alarmingly common. Teens can be very impressionable, and learning about the act of cutting from a schoolmate or on social media can lead to curiosity, which can quickly lead to a terrible and dangerous habit. Cutting can become very addictive for teens who have depression issues, which makes it essential for parents to act swiftly and find help before the problem gets worse and an accident occurs.


Another type of self-harm is burning. Burning is when someone applies heat or fire to the skin. Burning is similar to the act of cutting and can be another form of self-harm that teens find relief from the mental struggles they are dealing with or as a way to fit in with others they have seen at school or on the internet.


Another type of self-harm is bingeing and purging. This is when someone eats a lot of food and then vomits it up or uses laxatives to get rid of the food. This act can result from teens who develop body dysmorphia, have extremely low self-confidence, or lack proper nutrition and health education.

Bingeing and purging can cause physical problems like dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. It can also lead to psychological issues such as eating disorders and anorexia if the habit is not stopped in time.

Healing Depression and Preventing Self-Harm at HillsidesCares

If you think your teen might be harming themselves, you must talk to them about it. Open communication is critical in helping your teen recover from any mental health issues they might be experiencing. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that is effective in preventing self-harming behaviors and helping people with depression heal.

DBT is a cognitive-behavioral therapy focusing on the relationship between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. DBT aims to help people learn how to manage difficult emotions and problematic behaviors. This therapy is especially helpful in treating people who engage in self-harming behaviors, such as cutting or burning themselves.

DBT teaches people skills that can help them regulate their emotions, tolerate distress, and communicate better. These skills can help people with depression feel more capable and empowered, reducing the urge to self-harm. To enroll your teen in our mental health programs or to learn more about our personalized and compassionate approach to treatment, reach out to our team of experts at HillsidesCares today at 323.641.4842.