Self-harm refers to behaviors in which people deliberately inflict some form of pain onto themselves. This can include behaviors such as cutting, burning, punching, or drinking harmful substances. When people participate in acts of self-injury, they are usually doing so as a means of dealing with inner pain or emotional struggles. These individuals feel as though they do not have control over what they are feeling on the inside, so they attempt to gain control by inflicting pain on the outside. Others have been known to injure themselves as a means of grounding them in reality. If they are experiencing feelings of detachment or derealization, the act of experiencing physical pain allows their minds to focus on the real world around them. Others still will participate in self-mutilation as a way to stop excessive levels of anxiety. Regardless of the reasons why one begins harming him or herself, once the behavior has started, it can be extremely difficult to stop. But it is possible to stop. Help is waiting.
Red River Hospital is a 74-bed psychiatric and addiction treatment center located in Wichita Falls, Texas. For over four decades, we have remained steadfast in our diligence to help improve the lives of those who entrust us with their care. Through individualized treatment plans, the highly trained and qualified staff at Red River Hospital assist those who are in need of services for behavioral health concerns, substance abuse issues, and co-occurring disorders. Separated into four distinct units, we are able to successfully meet the needs of all age groups, including children, adolescents, adults, and senior adults. We are also proud to offer a specialized military heroes unit for our United States Service Members. At Red River, we recognize how devastating self-harm can be and we acknowledge the sensitivity surrounding the various reasons why people start using this behavior as a means of coping. But we want to show you that there is another way to cope; we want to guide you as you develop the tools you need to start to rebuild your life.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Due to the fact that self-harm is usually done in private, it can be difficult to know when someone is partaking in the act. If you suspect that a family member or loved on is intentionally harming him or herself, but are unsure, here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts or long pants, even when it is hot outside
- Unexplained cuts, scrapes, burn marks, or bruises
- Frequent “accidents”
- Expressions indicative of low self-esteem
- Displaying a lack of interest in things he or she was once interested in
- Drug or alcohol abuse
If any of these things ring true to what you have noticed in your loved one, it would be beneficial to confront him or her with your concerns. However, doing so can be intimidating because your loved one will most likely become defensive and deny the behaviors. Go into the discussion prepared for this denial and remain calm and nonjudgmental, keeping these things in mind:
- Present specific things that your loved has done that has caused you concern
- Do not ask him or her to explain why he or she participates in the behaviors
- Do not lecture your loved one about the dangers of the behaviors
- Try to be sympathetic, remember that this is not something that your loved one wants to be doing
Why Seek Treatment at Red River
The inner turmoil that leads many to begin self-injuring may potentially be symptomatic of a mental illness. The act of harming oneself only provides temporary relief and does not address why the individual feels the need to do it. In order to address the possible presence of a mental disorder, as well to find true relief from the emotional struggles that lead to the behaviors, one should receive proper mental health treatment. If left untreated, the long-term effects of self-harming can be devastating and, in some cases, even fatal.
Inpatient treatment programs can be favorable over other types of treatment when addressing the presence of self-harming behaviors for a number of reasons. First and foremost, entering an inpatient program ensures safety from participating in the act itself. Not only are individuals monitored 24/7 by nurses and mental health professionals, but special precautions are taken in order to make sure that they do not have access to any tools that they could potentially use to self-injure. Additionally, by entering an inpatient program, people are able to remove themselves from their everyday environments which hold triggers that lead to stress which can ultimately lead to the desire to self-harm. Through various therapeutic interventions, support from other individuals who are dealing with similar struggles, and the possible implementation of appropriate medication, inpatient programs can help individuals overcome their urges to self-injure and find a renewed sense of self-worth and true healing.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
When you or a loved one is in crisis, or when life simply seems to have spiraled out of control, the staff at Red River Hospital is here to help. We strive to understand the point of view of others and actively express encouragement as individuals work towards achieving their goals. At Red River, we take responsibility for treating each and every person who comes through our doors with the respect and dignity that he or she deserves. By providing structured programming and implementing individualized treatment plans for each patient, we aim to show everyone how they can succeed. We surround patients with every facet of information that they need to get better, and we will do everything in our power to make sure that those who comes to us for care leave our center with the confidence they need to continue on their path to a brighter future.
Types of Treatment Offered at Red River
Red River Hospital provides assessments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, free of charge. These assessments are conducted by a licensed professional and then reviewed by a team member or supervisor. If it is determined that we will be able to fully meet the patient’s needs, one of our physicians will be contacted and the admissions process will begin. Our dedicated multidisciplinary treatment team and psychiatric staff provide medical management and various therapies designed to encompass all of the needs of all of our patients. We utilize a variety of therapeutic techniques as part of our inpatient program, including the following:
Detoxification: When patients come to Red River and are struggling with chemical dependency concerns, we provide a 5-7 day stay in our detox unit. Here, every individual receives 24 hour monitoring by a team of nurses as his or her body becomes cleansed of any toxic substances that are present. For those who are struggling to overcome their partaking in self-mutilating behaviors, but are also dependent upon substances, detox marks the beginning of the therapeutic process. To learn more about this process, please see our detoxification program page.
Medication management: Medication may be used as part of the treatment process for helping people who self-injure, especially if they are diagnosed with a mental illness. All patients are seen daily by a psychiatrist in order to ensure that the medications that have been prescribed are working as they should and to make any changes that may be necessary.
Group therapy: Red River’s inpatient programs are group-focused, with a variety of groups being held daily. Some of the topics that are covered in these groups include effective communication skills, appropriate assertive behavior skills, anger management, conflict resolution, and medication management. On our progressive care unit, additional groups and activities are held in order to assist in reality orientation.
Family therapy: At Red River, we see each disorder as family disorder because these illnesses not only impact the life of the individual who has the disorder, but the lives of each patient’s family members as well. We believe that if the family is not involved, then the changes that are made during the treatment process will not be carried over into the home environment. As a result, we encourage family sessions to occur on a regular basis in all units and can be done via telephone if necessary. On our child and adolescent unit, at least one family session is required prior to the patient’s discharge.
Individual therapy: Individual sessions occur on an as-needed basis for all units except our military unit where patients have a minimum of one individual therapy session each week.
Recreational therapy occurs at least once per day and includes activities such as physical therapy and yoga.
Daily school is provided for all of our child and adolescent patients. There is an onsite school room and lessons are led by our public school district’s teachers.
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
At Red River Hospital, we begin planning for discharge the moment patients enter the hospital. This plan is consistently reviewed and updated throughout the individual’s stay so that, when the time for discharge arrives, the patient is already set up for the next step in his or her recovery process. We believe that aftercare is a major part of treatment, so we ensure that the unique needs of each individual will be cared for, whether that be a step down into our partial hospitalization program (PHP) or our intensive outpatient program (IOP), or being provided with referrals for traditional outpatient services. For patients who require a structured plan in order to return to life’s daily routines, Red River also provides onsite therapy through our Pathways program which includes coping skills training and supervised medication management. Whatever your needs may be, our caring and compassionate staff will make sure that you are comfortable and confident as you embark on your next stage of recovery.