Why People Cut Themselves

Health and Fitness: Mental Health.

People who cut themselves tend to do so for a variety of different reasons. These people tend to cut themselves as a way to relieve the emotional pain of everyday life. This is especially true in the case of teenagers who may start to cut themselves as young as 13 years of age. Even though males do tend to cut themselves, on occasion, it is mostly females who use this method to relieve stress. Cutting oneself is exactly what it sounds like…the taking of a sharp blade, or some other sharp object, and cut your skin, on any part of your body until it bleeds.

Even though cutting is the most common form of a self-injuring behaviour, but it is not the only form of self-injuring behaviour, here are some others: burning oneself with anything that burns; biting; banging ones head; punching oneself; or even pulling ones own hair out.  Please also note that some boys have also been known to express self-injurious behaviours as well. Here is some additional information to help you better understand self-injury.

  1. Cutting is considered as a coping mechanism, although an unhealthy one, that helps people to handle intense feelings of being upset, or even pressure.
  2. The brain releases endorphins when the body is cut. These endorphins provide pain relief, and a sense of well-being, thus relieving psychological pain.
  3. Because of the release of endorphins, cutting can become a compulsive behaviour. The next time emotions are at a high, the brain craves the relief that the endorphins provide.
  4. People who cut themselves tend to be people without the skills to express these strong feelings in more healthy ways. These people need to learn other self-soothing methods that do not cause injury.
  5. People who cut themselves sometimes also suffer from other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive disorder), depression, eating disorders, or other challenges, but remember that this is not always the case.
  6. Many teens who cut themselves, tend to be very good at hiding what they have done to themselves. These people may wear long sleeves to hide scars. They may explain away any visible cuts that others may see. Or they may even share tips on how to hide their injuries.

Keep in mind that you cannot make someone who cuts themselves stop. The only thing that works is offering support, by telling them that you are willing to help find them the assistance that he or she needs. If you know of someone who cuts themselves, do not try to attempt to figure out whether or not they are trying to be cool, or if their actions are a cry for help.

If you are a parent of a teenager, or know of a person, who cuts themselves, find them a therapist that he or she likes, and can trust. Do not try to force them to see someone who you like, and trust. Keep in mind that there will be a strong possibility that the entire family may have to participate in family therapy, in order to get the person the help that they need. A person who cuts themselves is in pain, and needs to express that pain in a way that will not harm themselves, and those around them. Cutting oneself is a sever enough symptom to warrant a mental health evaluation, and help, so make sure that they get help as soon as possible.

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