Navigation Links
More Mental Health Care Urged for Kids Who Self-Harm
Date:5/25/2012

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors have long known that some kids suffering severe emotional turmoil find relief in physical pain -- cutting or burning or sticking themselves with pins to achieve a form of release.

But researchers now are questioning whether enough is being done to reach out to these young people and help them before they do themselves irreparable damage.

One study this year found that six of every 10 adolescents who went to an emergency room for treatment after harming themselves were released without receiving a mental health assessment or any follow-up mental health care. The findings were reported in the February issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

"Most young people who self-harm suffer from some underlying psychological disorder," said Jeffrey Bridge, a researcher with the Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and the study's lead author. "It's critical to conduct a mental health assessment in addition to the evaluation of their physical health if we're to get to the root of their problems."

Between 8 and 10 percent of all adolescents are believed to engage in some form of self-injurious behavior, Bridge said.

These children cut themselves with sharp edges, burn themselves with matches, stick needles into their skin or under their nails, or perform other acts of self-mutilation.

"I had one little boy that had one whole quarter of his head, he'd pulled out all the hair," said Mary Curran, executive director of Catholic Family Services in Crestwood, Mo., and a psychologist who specializes in self-harming behaviors.

Kids most often hurt themselves like this to deal with emotional problems such as stress or depression.

"It helps them deal with their feelings," Curran said. "It's a distraction for them. It's usually to give them something else to think about and something else to do with their hands."

There are other reasons, too, said Dr. Stephanie Sims, a psychiatrist with the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. Some hurt themselves to get attention, others because they're angry with themselves or because it helps them resist suicidal impulses. Some even hurt themselves to feel the "high" that comes with the body's release of hormones in response to pain signals.

The best treatment for kids who self-harm is to deal with their underlying emotional problems, experts say. "The key component of any intervention would be treatment of the underlying psychopathology," Bridge said.

That's why it is crucial that emergency rooms identify adolescents engaging in self-harming behaviors and get them therapeutic help, he said.

Once identified, kids can be treated using such psychotherapeutic techniques as cognitive-behavioral therapy, Sims said. They also can receive pharmaceutical help through medications such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs.

But unfortunately, Bridge said, the culture at most hospitals works against kids getting help during those crucial interactions at emergency rooms.

"Previous research indicates some hospitals and emergency departments have no access to mental health professionals," he said. "Also, staff will often minimize the seriousness of self-harm, especially if patients have presented in the recent past."

That makes it all the more important that parents pay attention to potential warning signs. These include:

  • Kids wearing unseasonably warm clothes that cover their bodies. "That could tip you off that there's something on the child's body that they're trying to hide," Sims said.
  • Unusual cuts, scrapes or bruises on an adolescent's body.
  • Expressions of anxiety, depression or hopelessness.

"It can be difficult," Curran said. "Kids are pretty sneaky about how they do that. It's very difficult for parents to catch it."

Sims recommends that parents who think they see warning signs approach their kids with "respectful curiosity."

"Ask them what is cutting doing for them," she suggested. "What do they get out of it? Ask about suicide, but don't assume that they are suicidal. Let them know you want to help improve their coping skills so they don't have to use cutting as a way to deal with their emotions."

More information

The KidsHealth website of the Nemours Foundation has more on cutting.

SOURCES: Jeffrey A. Bridge, Ph.D., researcher, Center for Innovation in Pediatric Practice, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio; Mary Curran, Ph.D., executive director, Catholic Family Services, Crestwood, Mo.; Stephanie Sims, M.D., psychiatrist, University of Florida College of Medicine, Jacksonville, Fla.; February 2012, Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Bias found in mental health drug research presented at major psychiatric meeting
2. Experimental Drug Helps Fight Some Childhood Cancers, Study Finds
3. Developmental Woes Common in Siblings of Children With Autism
4. Understanding and promoting mental health - Insights from psychological science
5. Experimental Drug Eases Autistic Behaviors in Mice
6. Talking to Yourself Could Have Mental Benefits
7. Experimental Gel May Help Those With Advanced Parkinsons
8. Experimental Pill for Multiple Sclerosis Shows Promise
9. Media Multitasking Might Have Mental Upside
10. First contact: Early intervention key in diagnosis and treatment of serious mental illness
11. Researchers ID Genes That May Determine Mental Illness
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/28/2017)... york (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... ... to announce that Aditya Patel M.D. has joined the revolutionary endoscopic practice under ... and board certification in Interventional Pain Medicine. The patented, revolutionary eDiscSculpt Technique created ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... From April 30 to ... Care Medicine will host industry leaders for the annual spring Convention & Expo, ... the industry adapt to the issues currently affecting urgent care and on-demand healthcare. ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Bill Howe started his sewer and drain company in 1980 ... joined the team, the Bill Howe brand was born and they began cultivating their ... back to the San Diego community in which they worked, lived and were raising ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... ... April 28, 2017 , ... Phytomer USA ... region. Côté has 20+ years of experience within the beauty industry, ranging from ... an array of high-end cosmetic brands, retail brands and outlets in Canada and ...
(Date:4/28/2017)... CA (PRWEB) , ... April 28, 2017 , ... NuevaCare, ... cities as diverse as Millbrae, Burlingame, and Palo Alto, is proud to announce information ... interested persons to bookmark and read organized content on topics such as home care ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)...  Zimmer Biomet Holdings, Inc. (NYSE and SIX: ZBH), ... it will be participating in the Deutsche Bank Securities ... in Boston, Massachusetts on Wednesday, ... a.m. Eastern Time. A live webcast of ... Relations website at http://investor.zimmerbiomet.com .  The webcast will ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... --  ZappRx, Inc ., a digital health company focused on ... it closed $25 million in Series B funding led by ... Seattle that is part of a ... B round included participation from SR One , who ... (formerly Google Ventures). As part of the financing, ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... DUBLIN , April 20, 2017 ... "Latin America Pharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing Services Market Analysis By Service ... And Segment Forecasts, 2014 - 2025" report to their ... The Latin ... USD 21.0 billion by 2025 Low drug registration ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: