Special to Palmetto Counseling’s Blog | May 6, 2019 5:55 PM EDT
This issue features an article by Adam Durnham
Depression can lead to many dangers, including increased suicide risks. Those who suffer from depression sometimes turn to drugs, alcohol and some life-threatening behaviors that may compromise their safety. This is how they subdue the pain brought by depression.
According to Pamela Cantor, lecturer and a psychologist at the Harvard Medical School, high-risk behaviors and depression are strongly linked.
Unsafe sex, cutting, drug abuse, and excessive drinking are examples of self-harming actions that might give temporary comfort from an overwhelming emotional pain — a kind of pain most experts call as “psychache.”
Despite being a newly coined term, “psychache” is actually a very common scenario you can witness in various therapists’ clinics. Dr. Cara Gardenswartz, a well-known clinical psychologist engaged in private practice and also a UCLA instructor, said that approximately 30 percent of the clients coming into her clinic for depression have tried engaging in “self-damaging or threatening behavior.”
As a matter of fact, even New York’s Fordham University researcher and professor Dr. Peggy Andover
revealed that in her study of young people engaged in non-suicidal self-harm, it was clearly shown that those who engage in self-harm have more elevated levels of depression symptoms.
Further, Dr. Andover’s study revealed that these young people often scratch, carve, burn, or cut their skin when they feel distressed. These acts reportedly made them feel better about themselves. There is little data on how frequent people who are distressed engaged in non-suicidal self-harm, however, the fact remains that they are more vulnerable to depression. Also, new research efforts also reveal that self-injury comes after the depression, and not otherwise.
These facts clearly highlight the need for dual diagnosis treatment.