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Cutting and
Self Harm

Self-inflicted harm is something people from all over the world struggle with. People cut for a variety of reasons ranging from trauma to depression. Although cutting and self-harm are not a healthy coping mechanism, for those who cut, it seems to be the only way to relieve the emotional pain. Not a rare occurrence, there are many resources to help those who are having issues with self-harm. As with those who abuse alcohol or drugs in attempt to ease their pain, the relief is only temporary, and the pain quickly returns even stronger. This cycle is tough to break, and seeking help is needed in order to break free. Most people who cut begin in their early teens, and although more girls have been found to self-harm, males do it as well.

Why Do People Cut Themselves?

Self-harm is not the best way for anyone to deal with their problem, but sometimes it is the only solution a person can see without help. People cut for a variety of reasons. Most people cut to distract themselves from their emotional pain. Traumatic events may control the individual’s emotions, and cutting gives relief from those overwhelming emotions. Also, cutting is a way to express emotions such as anger or sorrow that the person feels cannot be expressed by any words. Another common cause of cutting is self-punishment. People who were abused physically, emotionally, or sexually may blame themselves, and cutting is a method of taking out this anger on themselves.

Misconceptions About Cutting

One common myth of cutting is that it is a suicidal act. Although people may indeed commit suicide by means of self-harm, death is not usually the goal. Self-mutilation allows the person to be in control of their pain and to escape from their pain in the real world. Some people see self-inflicted harm as a cry out for attention. This misconception is not entirely false, but also is not completely true. Most people who cut try to hide their pain, and are often secretive about their acts. However, on occasion, the cutter will openly show their wounds in an attempt to invoke sympathy in others. Another myth of cutting and self-harm is that people who do it are crazy. Many people wonder, “Is cutting and self-harm a disorder?” Cutting itself is usually not a mental disorder, but rather a coping mechanism to deal with a traumatic event or series of events. Some cutters may suffer from underlying mental disorders such as depression, PTSD, bipolar, or an eating disorder.


Treatment for Cutting and Self-Harm

Cutting and other forms of self-harm may be extremely difficult to stop. Without help, it is often too much to handle. The first step towards stopping the destructive behavior is to confide in somebody you trust. Although this is possibly the hardest step, it is absolutely crucial. Parents, friends, counselors, and psychologists are good people to tell who may help guide you in the right direction. For the least, they give you the relief of expressing your pain rather than keeping it in any longer. Psychotherapy is often required to help prevent the individual from cutting again. As the method of escape from emotional pain is taken away from the person, they must learn to deal with their emotions and express them in safer ways. If you or someone you know is suffering from self-harming tendencies, it is important to seek help. They may accidentally kill themselves or seriously harm themselves, and they may go on for years without truly dealing with their emotions. The first step is to talk about it, and talking will work wonders.

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