Why Do People Cut Themselves?

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For many, the idea of breaking the skin, drawing blood, or causing self- harm through other methods is a repulsive concept and possibly something they would never be able to accomplish. However, roughly 1% of Americans do cut themselves. There are many reasons why people begin cutting themselves, and also many forms of causing self harm that others may not be aware of. Self harm can become addicting after a very short amount of time, given the right circumstances.

The most common ways that people cause self harm are burning the skin, cutting the skin, pulling hair, picking scabs, intentional bruising, inserting objects or embedding them beneath the skin, breaking bones, scratching the skin, punching self or objects to break the skin on the hands, and lastly infecting oneself. Some of the methods, such as breaking bones are drastic and the damage is quickly and easily seen by others. Other methods such as cutting the skin and causing intentional bruising are easily hidden.

People often cause self harm as a coping mechanism for difficult situations, experiences and trauma. Some individuals feel that the self-harm is a way to control their emotional pain in a physical outlet. Self-harm can also grant a kind of relief that many individuals cannot identify with. A smaller category of people partake in self harm to satisfy more superficial desires such as following trends or following a stigmata of a certain crowd.

The actual reasons why people cause self-harm are many. In life, there are countless things that can cause trauma or painful emotional situations. As mentioned above, self cutting can be a coping mechanism in which the bloodletting can stand for the level of emotional pain an individual is going through. For some, emotional and mental trauma can be so intense, that there is no other way for them to cope other than to allow their body to express the turmoil inside. Emotions that cause cutting can be: over excitement, fear, and feelings of emptiness. All of these emotions can sometimes reach a height in which an individual craves physical equality in sensation. People who suffer from other addictions such as eating disorders or substance abuse will self harm to gain a greater sense of control.

Worse than most are those that self harm for the sake of peer pressure. This is largely predominant in high school aged individuals. Certain crowds of people find self mutilation a trend that expresses darkness, or pain, or evil and sadness. Pop culture sees self harm as a way of being rebellious or crying for help. Individuals who partake in self harm for this reason are typically those that have less of a chance of causing accidental death or long term medical problems. However, closely linked with this form of self harm is the kind that comes from low self esteem. Individuals who feel misunderstood and unloved by those around them may cut themselves as a result for an incredibly low self image.

No matter the reason or method, self harm is an addiction that absolutely needs treatment. Over time self harm can intensify into dangerous situations. Some individuals who go untreated for self harm that is a result of serious inner turmoil can lead up to attempting suicide. Treatment is very possible and often reflects the reasons behind the self harm and the method used to fulfill it.

For more information on our addiction treatment programs and therapeutic approaches, call toll free at: 800-960-5041. Florida Center for Recovery offers residential drug and alcohol rehab treatment through 12-Step and Non 12-Step Programs.

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