Self Injury and Cutting

What is Cutting?

Cutting is a form of self-injury where the person makes small cuts to the body, usually to the arms or legs. Other self-injuries include:  punching, banging oneself with an object capable of causing injury, biting, ripping, burning or tearing skin, and falling, jumping and bone breaking. Girls are more likely to cut themselves, while boys are more likely to hit/punch or bite themselves.This is not a suicide attempt, though it can be very dangerous.

Psychologists say that kids use cutting to help them control emotional pain. Some hide this practice under long sleeves, and some use it for a cry for help. The dangers for cutting are severe- such as losing to much blood, infection, or death. There are also devastating emotional effects that can lead people to feel as though they are addicted to cutting.

More girls than boys cut, and girls who self-harm also tend to have an eating disorder.  Some also have a history of sexual, physical, or verbal abuse.  Or they can be a “regular” kid who is  sensitive, a perfectionist, or an overachiever.  The self-injury begins as a defense against what’s going on in their family, in their lives. They think they have failed in one area of their lives, so this is a way to get control.

Self-injury/cutting can also be a symptom for psychiatric problems like borderline personality disorder, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and needs addressed immediately.

Please call SAFELine if you are cutting or someone you love is showing symptoms such as unexplained cuts and scars, withdrawal, severe depression, drug or alcohol abuse.