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Is Self-Harming Addictive? Why do Teenagers Cut Themselves?

Rehana has been an online beauty writer for several years. Her articles often focus on home remedies, as well as other topics.

Why do teens cut themselves?

Why do teens cut themselves?

What Is Cutting?

If you are reading this article, are most likely interested in finding out about cutting, and more importantly, why teens cut themselves. Cutting is a destructive habit that involves self-injury and self-harm. Those who cut often use sharp objects such as needles, knives, or razor blades to cut or scratch their skin to the point of bleeding.

Teens most commonly cut in body parts that can easily be hidden, such as the inner wrist and thigh, but the inner palm, stomach, and legs are also common areas. Those who cut are most likely to be seen in long-sleeved shirts or tops and full-length pants, even though the weather may be hot. They do this to hide their wounds, or scars that are formed when their wounds heal. You will find that teenage cutting is quite common in today's world.

You might be wondering why people would want to cut themselves. Cutting is a serious mental disorder and is often done impulsively without forethought. After cutting, teenagers often feel ashamed and wish they had not done it in the first place. However, because it often functions as an addiction, people find themselves going back to cutting. This is especially true for teenage cutting.

Teenage cutting: Teenagers may experience emotional challenges and peer pressure at school.

Teenage cutting: Teenagers may experience emotional challenges and peer pressure at school.

Why Is Cutting Addictive?

Once teens start cutting, they often find that they cannot stop. They may tell themselves that it's the last time and they won't cut again or convince themselves that they can stop whenever they want to. This is how teenage cutting becomes addictive. Individuals believe they are in control and can stop when they want to, but this is seldom the case.

Starting to cut and feeling a strong urge to do it over and over again is a compulsive behavior. It is habit-forming and can be fatal. Just like any other addiction, people who cut start associating the act of cutting with the temporary relief that they get.

To make it clearer, think of people who are binge eaters. They know that compulsive overeating is bad for them but over time, their minds begin to associate binge eating with the relief it provides them as a way to escape intense emotions or disturbing memories.

Similarly, the minds of those who cut start making a connection between cutting and the temporary relief that cutting brings as a means of escape from their memories of childhood abuse. This is one of the explanations for why teens might cut themselves.

But cutting only provides temporary relief—once that numbness from cutting elapses, you immediately look down and see what you have done, only to find yourself in disgust, disappointed, ashamed, and in even more pain.

Who Is More Likely to Cut?

Many people who cut themselves are in their preteen to teen stages, but many carry this habit to adulthood as well. It has also been found that girls are more likely than boys to cut themselves. Teenage cutting is a growing problem in society today thanks to increasing dysfunctional families, the increasing divorce rate, and the negative messages bombarded at teenagers through media.

Why Do People Cut Themselves?

Now you may be wondering why anyone would ever want to injure or cause pain to themselves. Indeed, it may seem unfathomable that anyone would deliberately pick up a sharp object to cause harm to themselves. Many teens who cut themselves do this as a way of coping with situations in their life that they think are too stressful or painful to bear. Of course, cutting is not the best way to cope with life's troubles at all. Cutting does not help solve the problem at hand—if anything, cutting only adds to the problems one already has.

When I was in high school, I had a friend who used to cut himself. He would use needles and sometimes fountain pens to sharply indent his skin, forming deep cuts that left behind pink scars. On the outside, he seemed like a very social, happy, and outgoing person but when he went back home, he would occasionally cut himself. It was his way of coping with all the pressure that was on him from his family, who expected him to get straight A's, and his friends, who expected him to constantly be 'cool' and 'in with the gang'. Obviously, cutting himself was not the right thing to do, but as a young teen, that was something he did that made him feel better and relieved stress—but only temporarily.

The Reasons Why Teenagers May Cut

So, why do teens cut themselves? There are various reasons why people cut themselves. Below are some of the reasons:

1. Relief

Some teenagers cut to get 'relief' from pent-up feelings. Cutting gives them a false sense of respite from their mental stress or emotional problems.

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2. Self-Expression

Cutting may give teens a platform to express intense feelings such as depression, rejection, anger, betrayal, or confusion.

3. Curiosity

There are some who try cutting out of curiosity. Ever heard the saying "curiosity killed the cat"? Well, as much as curiosity can be a good thing, in this case, it does not lead to any benefit at all. At first, they may try out cutting as a harmless innocent behavior, but this is addictive and the compulsion to cut may cause life-threatening situations. As teens are in a stage of exploring and are more curious in that stage of life, they are more likely to indulge in dangerous habits such as smoking, drinking, and self-injury through cutting.

Victims of abuse may become reclusive and resort to cutting.

Victims of abuse may become reclusive and resort to cutting.

4. Abuse

Emotional or physical abuse may cause some people to close off the outside world and become reclusive. In this state, they may resort to cutting.

Adding on to the above, many victims of emotional and physical abuse often feel 'unclean' and 'disgusted' with themselves that they cut themselves as a way of punishing themselves. Most such victims feel that it was their fault that someone physically or mentally abused them and so they punish themselves for their 'crime' by cutting or self-injuring themselves.

5. Self-Hatred or Low Self-Esteem

Many people who cut themselves do not love and appreciate themselves or their bodies. They find themselves to be 'ugly' or 'fat', and in a desperate situation, they harm themselves by cutting, to get a quick fix for their problem. If they learned to love themselves, they wouldn't dream of deliberately harming themselves.

6. Stress

Too much pressure or stress can cause teenagers to resort to cutting. You would be surprised to know that many teens who cut themselves are actually honor-roll students.

How Can You Help Someone Who Cuts Themselves?

Stopping the habit is not an easy thing for someone who has already begun cutting. Here are some ways you can try to help someone who cuts themselves:

1. Encourage them to indulge in a productive and healthy hobby.

Explain that there are other ways to get rid of emotional burdens and societal pressures. Dealing with emotional pain and stress can be daunting but cutting is not the solution. Help them find healthier ways of occupying themselves such as photography or scrapbooking, which are not only fun but are also a great way to express themselves.

2. Tell them you care.

Show them that there are people who care for them. If one of your friends is cutting, show them how much you care for them and how much you wouldn't want to lose them or see them get hurt. They may realize that there are so many people who care for them after all, and out of compassion for all those who love them, they may decide to stop cutting.

3. Get them to exercise.

Exercise helps strengthen the immune system and boosts good hormones in the body such as serotonin, which helps you feel content and relaxed. Exercise is not only a way to keep busy and occupy yourself but is also a great way to tone up, get fit, and improve general well-being. Especially for teenagers, exercise does not have to mean hitting the gym and walking on the treadmill for an hour—you can make 'exercise' fun by engaging in any sports activity such as swimming, tennis, volleyball, or soccer.

4. Persuade them to join a club.

Find out what they like. For example, are they interested in drawing? If they are, they can join an art club. Do they like reading? Get them to join a book club. Joining a club enables them to be surrounded by like-minded people, making them feel comforted and secure. Many teens who feel awkward or like the odd one out in high school can find solace in the like-minded people they meet in these clubs.

5. Invite them to contribute to the community.

Serving the community and taking the time to help out needy people—by helping them build houses, for example—can do wonders for anyone. When I was in high school, we had a week of community service where we joined a local charity organization to help a poor community build permanent dwellings. Just helping to lay a few bricks and interacting with the people was a life-changing experience. It helps you to see that there are people out there who are less fortunate than you, making you more appreciative of your own life.

Keep an open dialogue!

Keep an open dialogue!

6. Establish an open dialogue.

Many teens cut in secret and might be afraid to tell an adult about their cutting. Improving your relationship with your child can help them be more relaxed and friendly with you such that they can feel free to share with you. Talking about problems is a good starting step to get your child/friend to stop cutting. "A problem shared is a problem solved." However, please ensure that you don't come across as too domineering or pushy, otherwise, you'll make the person confiding in you become even more reclusive and uncooperative.

7. Suggest professional treatment.

Many teens are cutting because of deeper and more complex issues such as childhood abuse or physical torment. Getting them to see a professional therapist to receive qualified treatment can help facilitate healing to solve the root cause, such that they can stop cutting.

8. Advocate writing as a creative outlet.

Writing is a great therapeutic tool that can help relieve tension and pain. Encourage your child/friend who is cutting to keep a diary to record their observations and thoughts during the day. Poetry is also a great means of expressing one's creativity or bottled-up emotions, and watching your poem take shape is a rewarding and fulfilling experience, rather than cutting and harming yourself.

9. Suggest joining a support group.

Joining a support group can help a cutter feel that they are not alone. In a support group, they can share their personal stories and get to hear the stories of others with similar experiences. This can help them gain the strength and confidence to stop cutting. Online support groups are very convenient and also provide privacy.

10. Help them learn to love themselves.

If you want to help your friend or child who is cutting, one important thing to do is to get them to love themselves unconditionally. Loving oneself means that you would not hurt yourself in any way or deliberately cause yourself any pain. Many people who cut themselves are sensitive, compassionate souls who would never hurt another human being. Get them to see themselves and their own bodies as their 'friends'. Ask them, would they hurt a friend? The answer would most definitely be 'no'. If they treat themselves like friends, they would find it easier to not cut.

Advice to Self-Harmers

Has This Information Been Helpful to You?

I hope this article has helped you find the answers to the question, "Why do people cut themselves?" Perhaps with the pointers in this article, you can help yourself, or anyone else to overcome the habit of cutting. If you have any stories about teenage cutting or any other info to add to this article, please share in the comments section.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on July 25, 2020:

I am so scared of pain that I wonder why others are willing to cut themselves. Also, I wonder if tattooing is another way of self-cutting? This is a very informative article.

Elle on April 18, 2020:

I just started cutting myself but I don’t do it for relief. I do it so that the pain is a reminder of how fat and worthless I am and I do it so that they remind me to not eat and to look pretty.

venice on March 25, 2020:

hi Im Venice a 12 year old girl and I have recently started cutting my self I found it very hurtful and I deserved it I did because of a mistake with friend so it got out of hand.I would get called lesbian ,ugly and other disgusting names but after cutting I strongly regretted it.and please anyone out there don't do it! just today I was washing an apple and my dad saw the depressing scratches on my whole wrist he was terrified so he gave me a long encouraging talk and brought my along my older sister after that I came onto this website and tell my story.And anyone who reads this please don't cut it didn't save me it ruined me God gave you the skin of a goddess and an angel so don't let anyone discourage it because its not theirs or his or hers its yours, Amen!

Thank you.

Sam on February 14, 2020:

If anyone feels the urge to do this call this number 714 225 0899 I’m not a professional but I’m a friend who can talk you through why it’s the opposite of what you want deep down

Ellie on October 02, 2019:

I can’t even cut right

Alaina on January 08, 2019:

I feel empty inside. But when I cut, I feel everything. When I’m done though, I hate myself even more than I did before. I know I need to stop, but I can’t. My father found out and cried in front of 2 other grown men. If anyone’s out there reading this, please don’t start cutting or try to stop.

Cathy Alfaro on November 30, 2018:

I cut myself and my friends cut themselves bc there problems at school and home and I want this to stop

Katie on October 31, 2018:

I found out my sister was cutting herself and now I feel like i just wanna die bcs without my sister I would probably be miserable

Silence on May 28, 2018:

I’m new to cutting. It seems like it would hurt but it’s not if you go quick. I have the scars to show my pain but it’s not helping with anything it’s just relieving.

Ya ya hurdle on January 02, 2018:

Thank you so much. Most of my friends cut and I do as well... but the only reason I could say when someone ask me is Bc that’s a pain I can control . But when they asked if there was more... there wasnt. So I had to see why I did it. I took some notes and shared with my friends. I hope this will help me and my friends, any many other struggling people who cut.

Lena on October 05, 2017:

I resort to cutting to keep myself from breaking things and or hurting others. For some reason, I’ve never been ashamed or embarrassed. I think of them as battle scars: kinda like the more I have while I’m alive, the stronger I feel. Weird, I know. But that’s just me.

Alli trekal on June 01, 2017:

Yes I cut myself because I'm always being hurt by others and if I do that then what others do doesn't seam so bad

Likeitmatters on August 24, 2015:

Why not cut myself? It's not like there's anybody to talk to. There's always a catch, always a damn crutch that's formed. Screw that. Cutting doesn't cost me anything. It's not like I have much to offer, now or in the future. So why not?

Kate on April 03, 2015:

I cut and people who judge people like me are rude it's not like we have a control over it I just wanted to say people out there who cut I know the struggle to stop and those things to help it don't work I tried and my teachers tried to help but you honestly just want someone who understands and will help but it seems no one does

janine on December 24, 2014:

my name is gary i am using my wives computer i am 55 years old i used to cut myself in in my teens i have not done it for years but i got on line tonight to read up about it never to late to learn i grew up with both parents a strong father a good man by that i mean he wasn't a violent man and my mother who is a schizophanic she used to speak of the devil a lot and unless you have lived with a schitophanic sorry about the spelling you wouldn't know what it does to a childs mind i was very angry when i was young and drank heavily i was sent to a mental istitution which of course at 15 was very scary it took me along time to work through my issues with the help of a great wife there is a lot more to my story but you get the picture i am avery happy person now who still enjoys a social beer and a barbie i guess what i am trying to say there is light at the end of the tunnel i know its hard to open up when your young and feel like a bit of a looser but you need to find a doctor you feel comfortable with and tell him or her everything if you just tell the bits you want it wont help you i don't regret anything in my life because it led me to the life i have a beautiful wife 2 fantastic grown up children and 2 beautiful grandchildren what ever happens in life you have to find away through it you have to soldier on good luck i am thinking of you all and hope you all find the strength because life can change quickly and head you of in a new direction

caitlin on November 14, 2014:

I am addicted to cutting I guess. I cut 40-50 cuts a day. Here's my poem.

She is a beautiful artist,

But her mind is distorted,

And her art is different,

her brush is her blade,

And canvas her wrist,

Here's another one

A pill to ease the pain,

A purge to lose the gain,

A cut to break the vein,

A smoke to keep you sane,

A shot to lose it all...

Last one....

Hopeless and Insane,

My heart ripped open,

ready to be fixed,

but nobody cares,

or wants to help,

torn to pieces,

gutted inside,

broken inside,

screaming for help,

nobody by my side,

wishing this pain to end,

blade in hand,

cuts to deep,

alone and afraid

peachy from Home Sweet Home on November 13, 2014:

My pet brother cut himself over love, he is crazy

Kelly from NJ, USA on September 25, 2014:

I was glad to see your topic. It's very common and not often spoken of, its linked to hair pulling, too. I was a counselor, and counseled several girls. Sometimes, it has to do with hormones and the chemicals released to the brain when cutting. Exercise is a great reliever of stress, too. Again, nicely done.

FallenAngel123 on September 24, 2014:

My mother saw my cuts and believed it to be me doing because my friend was doing this also. She laughed about it, I don't understand how she could laugh about it. I haven't cut in a while after I got punished by my dad, but am feeling the need to cut again seeing how I am getting depressed almost every day now. I also have a very bad anxiety disorder. I had lost my diary that held my razor blades, but have recently found it. My friend knows I cut and is trying to help me not too.

mathira from chennai on August 17, 2014:

Today life has become very hectic and stressed. Everyone seems to be busy with their own work. There are times when you feel emotionally shattered. When you feel that there is no one in this world to help you, you express your frustration and misery by hurting yourself physically.

Halie--- on August 05, 2014:

I'm 21 and have been cutting for years. I don't necessarily cut to do "self harm"... I get a VERY intense euphoric high from it.. And it feels great. My therapist told me she went to a ceminar by Dr Katz, who explained which chemical/feeling it was that I feel when cutting. It was something like dopamine, or 2 possible others but I forgot the names of them.. If you know which chemical it is, and could follow up, that would be very appreciated.

Marilyn Gentry from Ontario, Canada on August 01, 2014:

There are several things happening from sad to the worst. I've been depressed too, several times but I can't take to cut my self or cause harm to myself because I know that won't even make better.

xXBrokenHeartXx on June 30, 2014:

I cut ALL the time! :D well.. not all the time but I do it a lot. It doesn't hurt for some reason even though it most likely should.. :o but I always say my pain is a 3 when it's a 6 at the Doctor. XD I usually don't cut too deep just enough to get some blood. Having thick skin doesn't help... X_X Cutting is a last resort for me. I usually listen to music, draw, go for walks, and play something like a videogame before I even think about cutting. After I cut I don't feel bad or ashamed or anything. I don't even feel like covering it up either. I think I was about 3 years old when I had a traumatic experience. I don't remember it at all only what people had told me. X_X Also been diagnosed with pretty much every mental illness in the book. In patient. Outpatient. Doctors. Therapists. You name it~! I've had it all!... Anyway.. Rambling over. XD


Guild: Anti-Proxies

Faction: Heart Stealers

tanyaperrett91 on June 30, 2014:

My best friend used to cut all the time when we were in our teen years. Her cutting was more or less a control deal. She always said, that was when she had the most control. She could control how many cuts she wanted, or how deep she wanted them. Whenever she felt like she wasn't in control she would cut. She never did any drastic cutting, they were more like cat scratches. Im sure other people who cut have their own reasons as to why the do so, but not all cutters do it because they hate themselves.

Lindsey on May 25, 2014:

I've done this before. I cut my self. Not too deep. But enough to see the blood. Then I thought to myself is this worth it. I thought it was. Then I thought of my role model and thought if she knew me, she would be sad and hurt to know about that. But today I am glad to say I am 3 months and 12 days clean. To those still fighting, no matter what 1 second clean, 1 day clean, etc. I'm proud of you because your still here trying to fight and win. Please stay strong❤️I am here for you all. My secret Instagram: depression13wbu feel free to DM me on Instagram and we can talk. I love you all so much!

Eion on May 20, 2014:

I am bullied almost every day and no one does any thing and sometimes I cut myself people don't understand but I do because when you a bullied every day you will under stand. To be onist it just made my life worst so before you cut read this nothing gets beater when you cut it just goes downhill from there. And all you're left with is a ripped up wrist. But take my word I know how you fell so plez don't cut

Ryan on May 05, 2014:

Yes its true that cutters are mostly teens and females. That being said, I'm not a teen nor a female and yesi did start at an early age. I was 12 or 13 living with my dad at the time when I first saw myself bleed and felt that immense rush of feelings. My parents had never really been together and there was always a custody battle so I was always back and forth. Because of this I never had any friends, I was always either in one state with my mom or another with my dad whom was always drunk and it just became too much to handle. After that first time, I became addicted, it lasted for years. I have places on my body where the skin looks so rough from cutting that it looks like leather. Trust me, if there are any new cutters reading these posts or even family and friends of those that cut, find another way. Cutting can consume your life. I am now 28 and on the verge of suicide because parts of me look like a prop out of a horror movie. If you are a friend or family member of someone that cuts, find a way to help them at all costs. If you love someone that cuts show them how much you love them even if it means that you have to make drastic sacrifices in your life. And by all means make that person know how much their lives mean to you and this world. I hate to be dramatic about this, but if you knew me, you would understand how much this type of behavior can affect the cutters life well into adult hood. I was clean from this addiction for a year and thought life was getting better, then all went to hell because of one bad day. My name is Ryan and I'm an addict. I just hope that tomorrow brings another day. ...

kerry on April 26, 2014:

I read this , because there was an article in the paper, and it says self harm has increased since facebook etc. TOO MUCH INFORMATION FROM SOCIAL MEDIA IS HARMFUL TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE. Its only natural for teenagers to be curious, hence they hear about things like this, and are naturally curious. In the past people who did this usually did not talk about it, but because of social media, people are being encouraged to SHARE, so as we all know teenagers like to experiment, hence leading to the rising figures of self harm. Moral of the story...too much negative information can be dangerous to young impressionable minds.

Brittany Barrett on April 06, 2014:

Hi my name is Brittany Barrett I'm 13 years old and I'm a teenager well sometimes I get really sad upset emotional but it would take a lot for me to get started doing this and that i because what people do to me to make me cut myself and no one understands what I'm going through at the moment they think it's just all a joke but your brother's , sister's , mum family don't get what your feeling inside deep inside they don't even know that I cut and self harm like my uncle ask me yesterday what's wrong why you upset sad I sad I'm fine I'm happy I'm not sad so I lied to everyone what I feel deep inside really I can't tell anyone not even one person like a friend but I can't because no one understands what I feel deep inside really it's like I'm scared to tell anyone what I feel deep inside really.

Brittany Barrett on April 06, 2014:

Well I'm always upset sad I feel like cutting myself it's at home it's at school it's just so much stuff that makes me feel like cutting myself it's like you want to keep cutting yourself and your thinking why am I doing this I don't know why i do this any more it's hard for me to stop and when I do it I'm scared that my mum will slap me every time I do it it's because what goes on around me but when I get angry it takes a lot because when it just needs up inside you , you cannot take it anymore by Brittany Barrett

..... on March 25, 2014:

I cut cause my two friends betrayed me and never think about my feelings,so this is not my fault,I didn't lie to my friend and tell them "Oh,don't worry,I would never do that to you." I didn't mess up,they did.

girl on March 02, 2014:

i agree with skollon i cut but i have a big family of nearly 25 persons but i cut they love me very very much my mother loves me my father loves me but my mother usually lives away from me with my father due to his job and my younger sister is autistic she lives with father and mother .

i cut on the back of my palm , i usually lives with my insane grandmother and my deaf and dumb ants and my grandfather despite all this i cut i have many friends my best friend is very friendly to me she is like a sister to me

and i am only 14 years old...........

PLS help me what can i do but one more thing i only make small cuts and see the blood rolling my hand and when blood stops coming out i apply hand sanitizer to the cuts to make the pain worse

i remember i also tried to cut my hand few years back and i also tried to cut my hand in the starting of my 9th class which is going to end this April . but no blood come out so i cut hand sanitizer to the cut so that i can feel pain i was not able to cut at that moment but now i gain courage and made small cuts to my hand of approx 1 cm long

tara on March 02, 2014:

my best fiend has a lover who cut his hand to show love to her and to feel how it he does it i also tried to cut my hand and after several tries i was able to make small cuts

fairy2four on February 11, 2014:

Cutting can lead to other addictions if it doesn't kill you. I am saying this from one has scars from it. I know what cutting can do and how wonderful!!! it feels at the moment. Just think before you react. "turtle" as i was told. Pull back before you react and do something you will regret later. I say this because I never want any young person to go through the Hell i went through because i cut.

Miranda on February 04, 2014:

I am 12, and I cut. I have been for about 10 months. I also have a male and female friend who cut. I've been trying to stop them, but they are really depressed and I don't know how to help... I feel like, in a way it's my fault, and that makes me cut more. My male friend, is always bringing up the fact that I cut, and I regret ever telling him. He is making me even more depressed and am always sad. And I also found out he likes me, and now he is even more annoying, but I can't tell him, cuz then he'll cut even more! I just don't know what to do?

Davie on January 31, 2014:

I've been cutting for the last 2 years or so... I have a rare kidney disease called Loin pain Hematuria syndrome, after years of opiate pherpy and not good times I turned to cutting to mask the pain from my kidney...even tho the relief was short for those few minuets I was free..

AliD on January 26, 2014:

Call your country's children's helpline it is completely anonymous and your parents won't find out if you don't want them to. I am 13 and I used to cut but I called them 5 times and after that I stopped completely. They give you great advice and really make you feel in a better place. I still think about cutting a lot but since then I haven't actually done it which is amazing. I did it and you can to, good luck : )

Aquene from Charlotte, North Carolina on January 13, 2014:

Thank you for this hub! I have a family member who is struggling with this harmful behavior right now. It's most certainly taking its toll on everyone and I had no clue how prevalent it can be amongst teens and those in their early 20s.

rose on January 06, 2014:

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Nick on January 06, 2014:

I recently started this because my girlfriend broke up with me... Stupidest habit to do. If you read this, save your self the trouble of stopping by never starting.

JustSomeoneHurt on December 30, 2013:

Recently I had cut my thighs for the first time ever because of a fight with my motherbut I feel better already. However, I regretted cutting and am scared of my cuts. What if it has an infection? I once read that infection can lead to losing my leg or even death. I became so freaked out knowing this. I want to heal my cuts without my parents knowing, but how? Hope someone can help. I am just 12 and I totally regret cutting

Ina on December 10, 2013:

I'm wondering if a teenager who cut on her self should be around younger unattended children. She has been cutting on her self for 3 to 4 years and not been treated for it.

derrick on December 02, 2013:

I have been cutting since I was 12 n am now 24 I am covered n scars n recently cut myself again I've tried therapist n meds n it don't work at all no matter wat they tell me or give me I still have pain so I realese it the only way I know how to

bex 41 on November 21, 2013:

I self harmed most of teen years and early 20's I then settled in life and all aeemed ok till I had 2 major events in life both on there own would push anyone to the edge. I last self harmed in 2010 by cutting arms. Since then ive bottled everything up to the point of today reading this site and booking help with counciling service. Ive read this site foe help and now realize that the digging of spots scabs etc is self harming as well I have excema scalp and dig it the the point of bleeding and headache. I know I need help and am glad its coming soon wish everyone else luck we are not alone.

sara on November 08, 2013:

this is completely my story I have hundreds of pink scars on my arm

bg on October 05, 2013:

though this may be true for most people it is not true for all. I am a cutter and suffer from depression and anxiety, but my cutting isn't bad, it saves me from killing myself. I am not addicted I can go for long times without and only do so at the point of an incident and feel no need to cut myself on regular days. If i didn't cut myself to help me gain control of my volatile emotions then i would have killed myself long ago, and i know it's not the healthiest thing but i cut for pain not death and even my psychologist agrees that my cutting is a coping mechanism and not a problem. I would like to give you guys some simple facts, SAYING THAT YOU LOVE US AND TO THINK ABOUT OTHERS WHEN A PERSON IS SUICIDAL IS NOT A GOOD THING IT MAKES IT 10 TIMES WORSE. Also to the person who says we have no write to kill ourselves please go slap yourself in the face.

ruhe on September 28, 2013:

i love my b.f vry jst dyng to get bk hm in my life..n i cut my hand many a he didn't cme back nly...becz of a small mistake..he jst left me still i love him a nw i jst stp cutting my hand...

tin on September 12, 2013:

I hate to admit by I did that as well cutting myself and I pretend that I just got scratch accidentally by something but deep down I cut myself because I hate what is happening in my life right now they can only understand those people if they put themselves in our shoes.

Anon on August 30, 2013:

I hated suggestion five. Seeing others less fortunate? Great then ill go home to my brother, who raped me and my mom who has threatened to kill me. If only the poor lived like me right?

Michael Silver on August 26, 2013:

Thank you for the very informative article. I write lots of articles on this subject myself at

Sammy on May 26, 2013:

My mom and dad and my brothers and sisters all 10 of them died in the 2004 Tsunami when i was 11 years old

breanna on April 25, 2013:

i have cut and im only 13 years old. i have so many problems with my life its not even funny. i haven't cut in about 2 weeks, to many people that is a short time, but to me it seems like a year. im suffering with severe depression. if anybody can help me... please do so!

Leda on April 18, 2013:

"Cutting gives them a false sense of respite from their mental stress or emotional problems."

Nope, I would definitely say it gives me real, instant respite from all that. I don't really feel ashamed either, just frustrated at how often people who don't do it seem to misunderstand some of the reasons it is done.

Deanie on March 09, 2013:

I cut. I have stopped for short periods, but start again. For me the first time it was either take the pills to kill myself or find another out. Cutting was my out. It has probably 'saved' my life several times. It unfortunatley helps me to find a physical outlet to distract myself from mental and emotional pain I cannot handle. I have severe anxiety, depression, tactile disorder and personality disorder. Some days I am okay, some days I fall apart. Most of the time my scars aren't noticeable. Most are on my thighs and some on my inner arm. My inner arm has always been the prefered spot, but it is too easily seen. I have seen a therapist and phychiatrist before and since I've started again, I may have to go back. I hate that I can't seem to stay off my meds (anti-anxiety) and have to live on depression medication. But, for whatever reason this is who I am. It is NOT something to gain attention, most of us try to hide it. Always remember not to judge those of us who do these types of things. It won't help, it makes it worse. Never think you can understand another person's pain and struggles-you haven't lived their life.

Steve on March 05, 2013:

My girlfriend cuts and I hate that she does it I've got her to stop before but she's back doing it agin and its sad that she doesn't love herself like me and her family/friends do.

Vanessa on February 04, 2013:

omg this is so sad idk is it depression o

POLARBEAR on January 11, 2013:

How sad that so many people feel this way. Something very seriously wrong with humanity to make so many people feel like this! I have someone very young in my family who has resorted to this too. It breaks my heart & I'm the only one she trusts for help. Many young people do not trust their parents reactions to something like this & become very secretive with everyone around them. Many do not know who they can trust to turn to for help. Very difficult situation when they don't want their parents or anyone else knowing! She wants to get professional help without her parents knowing. Is that even possible with all the laws regarding minors? There has to be a safe way for these young people to seek help!

Mellissa Withers from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 10, 2013:

When I was younger I believed that cutting was for the pain. Pain was just weakness leaving the body. I thought by cutting I was getting the pain out of me but I learned that it was just causing a new kind of weakness. It really did not sink in the scope of how bad it was till I was dealing with it in my oldest daughter. She was one of the four children that came with my husband and I’ve been able to raise the last seven years. She started during the divorce after her mother told her that it was her fault she had to marry her father. That hurt her to the bone. It was then I knew how hurt she was even thought she was trying to be mom for her three younger brothers. Cutting is not something that should be ignored or let alone. My daughter and I talk about often and that urge never goes away we just try to see it for what it is. This is how we do not allow it to happen any more.

Someone on January 07, 2013:

A psychologist told me that when people cut themseles your body releases a chemical that makes you feel better because it works like a natural painkiller, and that way people get addicted to it. Is that true or did he say that to encourage me to stop?

LongTimeMother from Australia on January 05, 2013:

To everyone who writes on this page or who thinks about it and doesn't write ... there are lots of us out here who are wishing good things for all of you. It worries me that some people might feel ignored if they ask a question or express a concern and it goes unacknowledged, especially if you're feeling a little fragile when you're writing. Just know that we are thinking of you ... and I'll resist the urge to write to you all with words of encouragement. :)

LongTimeMother from Australia on January 05, 2013:

SomeoneNonImportant, I'm sure you're important to somebody and if you don't feel that's true today you just have to wait for a few more tomorrows. Make yourself strong and healthy and build yourself a future that will attract people to you and earn their respect. Don't punish yourself for being who you are. Accept yourself, then get out and make positive changes. It seems hard but you'll be surprised how much easier it becomes. Good luck.

LongTimeMother from Australia on January 05, 2013:

Kayela, it's your life and your decision whether or not your boyfriend is right for you. Nobody knows what he'll do in the future but here's a couple of thoughts for you. 1) Your boyfriend cheated on you and then he cut. Two wrongs aren't supposed to make a right, and yet you went back to him. Not sure he's learned his lesson really. I wouldn't like to think you'll have to keep dealing with that kind of behaviour. 2) Whatever action he takes if you break up with him is his responsibility and you shouldn't feel guilty if he chooses to self-harm. Just make sure you keep yourself safe. His life, his choices. Your life, your choices. I agree his family should have become actively involved the last time ... but it's not your responsibility to change your life plan just because he's not on top of his.

LongTimeMother from Australia on January 05, 2013:

Miss K, yes you do need to stop. Every minute of every day, keep one eye on the future. I want you to grow up to be happy, healthy and proud of yourself. Go on girl, you can do it!

XXX on December 30, 2012:

I call BS on this. Ok some of this is true. It is 100% a mental illness and I have this problem. BUT! I am not ashamed of my cuts and scars. Instead I use them to teach and help those who also cut... I can't stop instantly but I'm trying. My cuts have actually stopped my best friends cutting

Article Writer from Philippines on December 17, 2012:

self-cutting is a big problem and people who does this should be taken to the experts who could help them.. i feel sorry for these people and i guess what they really need is attention and love from people close to them... interesting hub..

marie on December 10, 2012:

help my kid is 14 she is cutting her self what do i do

Kayela on November 30, 2012:

My boyfriend cut after I broke up with him the first time. He said it was because he was guilty because he cheated on me. I got back together with him and his family did nothing to stop his cutting. I stoped him but would it ever happen again? I really care about him and I don't want him to hurt anymore. Do you think he'll go back to doing it?

Miss.K on November 26, 2012:

I cut but I can't help it and just about everyone I know does it too.I'm just 12 .I need to stop.

Skollon on October 23, 2012:

Hello. This article is half true, in my opinion. Some of the things are right, and some are not. Let me be more specific. I am a 19 year old female who goes to a private Christian university. I have a loving family of my mom, dad, and little brother. I have borderline perfect relationships with all of them and I love them to death. I get plenty of exercise and even play lots of sports. I have a boyfriend of 1 year and 2 months

But I have a secret: I cut. I am not an attention seeker. I cut on my thighs where no one ever sees.

This article claims that cutters have suffered childhood abuse. I have suffered none. I still cut. Why? I think it's because of the endorphins. When we are hurt, our body releases them, this also happens when we exercise, which is why doing activities is a good remedy for depression. When I reach a peak in one of my 'episodes,' I cut myself. Shortly after that, I feel better and come to a resolve of sorts.

The key to stopping is being around people who care about you or finding ways to distract yourself. It's hard to do, trust me, I know, but it can be done. The worst thing you could do is let yourself be alone, because if you're alone and left with your thoughts, especially during an episode of depression/rage, what are you going to turn to for relief? Cutting, right?

Don't let yourself be caught alone where you're stuck in your own mind. In the well-spoken words of The Eagles, "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy." Read a book, start drawing, type a letter to yourself about why you think you feel the need to cut right then. Re-read it then type a response to yourself; an encouraging response. Leave and go find a friend or family. Call someone. Dance. Go workout (that one is great, it lets you do something rapidly and physically exerting, much like cutting itself, but it's not as harmful). Take a nap. Bake a cake. There are so many different ways of dealing with these emotions that us cutters feel. And trust me, I KNOW that it's hard to do. Stopping is not easy, but it doesn't mean that you can't.

i on October 19, 2012:

I love to see the blood and it feels like all my pens just go away for a short while! How do I stop???????

unknown on September 16, 2012:

i don't no how to stop

SomeoneNonImportant on August 17, 2012:

Pain, it have many functions and one way is to indicate damages your body had physically received, one who is emotionality hurt does not feel physical pain, therefore cut/ hurt them self to balance the overwhelming emotions they have, the physical pain redirect/distracts their mind, so they are relieved from the problems for a brief period of time.

I say the most effective way is to hurt your brain by either hitting it with solid objects or put it in low oxygen level conditions (drowning). I have done this myself, I do considered this is quite extreme, and regret my choices but can't seem to stop. So to people who are hurting their self, stop while you can. What doesn't kill you does NOT make you stronger, ex. healed bones are stronger, but it makes the bones around it easier to break.

Life is awesome, enjoy it with the limited time you have. Sorry for my rants, I say good day sir.

stronger on August 02, 2012:

the thing about cutting is that once u start, it's hard to stop. even when u think you've overcome it, even when you've not done it for so long, you find ursel going back to it before u even knew it. it's a constant struggle. a daily battle.

hi on July 30, 2012:

Iuse writing drawing and music to help but I got away from cutting along.time ago then I just had a weird urge to hurt myself so I'm back to cutting.

unknown on July 25, 2012:

i know a huge bunch of people who have cut themselves people has since outcasted a harrassed them they are great people whos friendships i chearish i know that if i did it they would always be there for me when i was young i tried it once i still carry scares but i don't regret it as we are all teens at some stage in our lives i don't see any problem in it at all im 17 now but if i did it again i would hide it because society can be too judgemental

Unknown on July 13, 2012:

The reason I cut was the pain reliving endorphins. I used cutting as a coping method. After cutting for so many years it became less of an addiction and more of a routine. There was no clear moment when I first started it was just something that grew with me over the years starting with scratching at 7 or so and being covered in scars by 12. I still cut occasionally and am not ashamed of it.

LongTimeMother from Australia on July 03, 2012:

I don't understand cutting but I have known a few young people over the years who were into cutting and then, one way or another, stopped it. I think in a way they just 'grew through' the issues that bothered them and their focus changed. New job, new boyfriend, new something.

I am voting up this excellent hub.

a mom on July 01, 2012:

i just recently started cutting and don't understand why. I'm a mother of grown children. One who is an addict

cclolly859 on June 06, 2012:

I don't cut. But I usually dig my nails to my arms really deep sometimes when I really get hurt.

Taylor hodge on June 06, 2012:

We don,t have the right to puished our self by cutting yourself. We have so much to live for in your life.

Rachael Annette on May 18, 2012:

Check out this organization

they provide support, answers and hope for all kinds of addictions, especially cutting.

no on April 17, 2012:

i don't cut myself but i pick at scabs so they bleed and then they scar cuz im like so depressed

george 15 on April 07, 2012:

ya i cut my self as well i wish i would not most of the time but i always say i will stop and i just never do i wish that i could but it ant easy at all

pamster11 on April 04, 2012:

I cut myself when someone is mad at me or I hurt someone.

pamela Z on April 04, 2012:

I cut myself to relieve pain if i hurt others.

4granted on April 04, 2012:

This can happen in any family. I recently read Beth Wiseman's "Need You Now," which is a novel about a "good Christian family" who suddenly finds themselves in chaos. If you suspect a friend or family member is cutting, having them read this book might be a non-threatening way to start a conversation. The book is realistic but hopeful about how to deal with family problems. Here's a link to the book:

uknown on March 25, 2012:

I have done this before i have many scars in my body..when people ask me what happened i have to lie all the time because i feel ashamed of this. I know this is bad for myself,but if this is the only way for me to express my feelings. Lately i have tried to control this and i haven't done it and i am also seeing a tharipist . My therapist grouped me in a group with other girls with the same problems and she started us doing the butterfly project. It has helped me lately so if there's any girls that cut and need help, try talking to your parents they probablly cold help you or get help for you.

kaycee house on March 23, 2012:

ive done it before and i know how it feels, its never good to inflict physical pain on yourself or anyone else, it almost made me loose the most important thing i my life and i realized it wasn't worth it and can hurt you really bad. im not saying don't do it but be carfull, please.

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