What Is Self-Injury Disorder?

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Self-injurious behavior or self-injury disorder refers to those experiencing urges to self-injure. In addition, they must self-injure in order to feel relief. This disorder gets labeled as a number of things. They include self-harm, cutting, and self-mutilation. However, they all fall under the same heading of self-injurious behavior. Anyone who self-injures can get help and learn to put it behind them. Treatment programs exist that specifically treat this one condition. Thus, hope abounds for anyone who self-injures.

What is Self-Injury Disorder?

Self-injury disorder is characterized as a symptom of many mental illnesses. This behavior often manifests when a person deals with self-hatred or self-loathing. As a matter of fact, the person cannot express or understand what they need to emote. Self-punishment is another factor in certain self-injurious behavior. People express self-injury behaviors in different ways. Having said that, they all revolve around seeking relief from some kind of pain the victim feels. Self-harm falls under the umbrella of a disorder. However, it is not an actual mental illness. This disorder is often secretive and the cutter goes to great lengths to hide their injuries.

People have difficulty understanding how self-injury can be a relief from emotional dysfunction, but having some kind of control over this behavior is the motive behind the injury. Self-injuring can also be used as a coping behavior for feeling numb. In contrast, self-injury can also make the sufferer feel more alive. Those who have been abused use these behaviors as the end belief that they deserved to be abused and hurt themselves. 

Those inclined to take part in self-injury are often female adolescents. However, any age or gender can take part in this. Every race, religion, and culture contains people who use self-injury as a coping mechanism. Abuse of some kind is usually a past factor for self-injurers. Those with eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and substance abuse disorders prove more commonly associated with self-injury. Families who restrict the expression of emotions, especially the expression of anger, can have a direct correlation with self-injury. 

Is Self-Injury an Addiction?

There is great debate as to whether self-injury is an addiction. Proof does not exist that it falls under the category of addictive. Having said that, research continues in the pursuit of knowing more about self-injury. While it has been determined that self-harm or self-injurious behaviors are not considered a mental illness, it is determined to be a coping mechanism. This behavior is associated with certain mental illnesses, including anxiety, and PTSD. This self-injurious behavior commonly stems from abuse, neglect, or trauma experienced in the past. 

People often unknowingly restrict themselves from showing emotion. Consequently, they possess no positive or healthy coping mechanisms. As a result, they try to hide their emotions with self-injurious behavior. Then, the pattern becomes addictive. Self-injury behavior can cause shame and guilt. As a result, this often spurs the person on to commit more acts of self-injury. It’s a cycle of behavior that can become a long-time habit that is difficult to stop. This symptom of emotional pain needs to be taken seriously. It may indicate a tendency to think suicidal thoughts, but it is not a form of suicide. 

Self-Injurious Symptoms and Behaviors

Self-injury or thinking about self-harm is a sign that there is some emotional dysfunction or distress taking place. Those that have no education or understanding of emotions and feelings feel extreme discomfort when trying to process these emotions. Self-injury is a sign of control and a way to cope with discomfort. The behaviors escalate the situation by causing more feelings that are uncomfortable – thus the vicious cycle of self-harm.

Self-injurious behaviors include the following:

  • Cuts and burns
  • Finger or arm biting
  • Eye pressing
  • Head banging
  • Needle sticking
  • Self-punching or scratching
  • Pulling out hair
  • Picking at skin

Warning signs of self-injurious behaviors include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty expressing or understanding feelings and emotions
  • Relationship problems or dysfunctions
  • Wearing long pants in hot weather or long sleeves to hide wounds
  • Difficulty functioning at work, school, or home

Treatment for Self-Injury Disorder

Those experiencing self-harming or self-injury behaviors have options. First, they can reach out to a trusted friend or family member for help. Second, they can consult a mental health professional. As a result, the treatment expert can do an assessment by asking a series of questions about health, life, and experiences in the past. Additionally, the therapist may look for other signs of a mental illness and ask about any illnesses that may be present. Last of all, medication often helps people who engage in self-injury. Having said that, it depends on the severity of their behaviors.  

Treatment for self-injury disorder includes a number of talk therapies, such as: 

  • Psychotherapy: focuses on exploring past traumas and experiences
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): can help a person learn positive healthy coping mechanisms
  • PTSD therapies: individual therapy and group therapies
  • Group therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Hypnosis and other self-relaxation techniques
  • Medication therapy: medication to calm symptoms 
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: helps to focus on positive thought patterns and coping mechanisms

Treatment for Self-Injury in Los Angeles

Do you need information concerning self-harm or self-injury behaviors? If so, we can help you. As a matter of fact, Launch Centers in Los Angeles offers a treatment program for self-injury. Additionally, we treat co-occurring addictions to drugs and alcohol. In the event that you or someone you love needs helps, we can provide it. We teach people to stop relying on self-injury. Then, they can use healthy coping skills to express themselves. Taking the first step to trusting someone can help stop the behaviors. It starts with having an assessment and designing a treatment plan for self-discovery and a way to stop hurting yourself. Contact us now and get started on a healthy new way of living. We are here to help.

About Our Founder

Jose Hernandez, for over a decade, has been involved in alcohol and addiction recovery helping people succeed in overcoming substance abuse and regaining control of their lives. He has experience in all aspects of the recovery world, from facilitating entry into treatment as an intervention specialist to counseling and case management at rehabilitation facilities. Jose has worked one-on-one with individuals as a sober companion and with groups as a resident counselor at addiction treatment centers and is certified by the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC) to practice as a substance abuse counselor.

Through his professional experiences in crisis intervention, drug and alcohol detoxification, substance abuse counseling, and relapse prevention, Jose has developed a unique plan for case management that bridges the gap between a person’s painful past of substance abuse and a future of sobriety.

At Riviera Recovery, a sober living facility with multiple locations, clients continue their transition from the supportive environment of a treatment center to living well and happily in the “real” world. The program he designed at Riviera Recovery personalizes treatment plans that enable clients, including those with a single or dual-diagnosed mental health disorder, to embrace a satisfying life.

His greatest endeavor has been establishing LAUNCH, a Los Angeles-based life skills intensive outpatient program for young adults. LAUNCH works with recovering men and women to establish personal vocational and educational goals and develop the tools to successfully meet them. His mission is to ensure that no one stands alone in his or her recovery.

Meet Our Clinical Team

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Jess Beck, LCSW

Clinical Director

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Eric Chaghouri, MD


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Chloe Kruskol, LCSW

Family Program Manager

Our Testimonials

Clients and Professionals Share Their Experience

  • HO

    Launch provided care on multiple levels. The highly skilled therapist coupled with the focus on purpose and long-term goals refocused my recovery from what previous treatment centers pushed onto me. I went from believing that I needed years of treatment to believing I needed years happiness and success. I began to focus on what I wanted to accomplish with my life. I came to realize all the things my addiction and mental illness had taken from me, and I used my future goals as a reason to never pick up again. Due to the passion that Launch instilled in me, I have pursued my future with excitement and dedication.

  • Nicole

    This place changed my life! I’ve had good laughs, good cries, shared a lot of heart to heart moments and grew a loving bond with everyone at Launch Centers. I will always be grateful!!! I really do miss it time to time. I highly recommend Launch Centers!

  • Joey

    The staff and clinicians are amazing and make you feel right at home from the second you walk in the door. I would absolutely recommend this place for a family member or close friend.

  • Ben

    This treatment facility has changed my life. I have always struggled with my mental health and this young adult program provided me with the necessary skills to launch to adulthood. I commend anyone who struggles with mental health or substance use (which was not me) to try this program out. It will change your life.

  • Conner

    Launch Centers Treatment was a major help to me. The therapists and staff genuinely cared about me and truly helped me to make a plan for my future. My personal therapists helped me to discover where some of my deeper issues came from. All of the staff worked tirelessly with me to talk through my issues, or just about life, and offered realistic solutions to my current problems and situation. All of the staff went above and beyond and advocated relentlessly for me. I am very grateful that I was able to have such a wonderful experience with Launch.

  • Adam

    In no uncertain terms Launch Centers changed my life. The staff at Launch are professional, knowledgable and relatable. They keep the format diverse and interesting which kept me engaged in the process. The greatest thing we can do in life is seek to improve ourselves. Launch gave me a skill set I consider to be invaluable in the journey of becoming the best version of myself. I would implore anybody considering Launch to step outside their comfort zone and go, you will not regret it.


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