A Look at Teens Who Cut Themselves

Many self-cutters have claimed they turned to self cutting because they felt isolated or alone, as though they couldn’t talk to anyone or fit into their own peer groups. For some teens, self-cutting is seen as a method of self-control or a way of relieving stress, tension, anger or many other negative feelings.

In other cases, self-cutting could be associated with a stressful situation or event. In cases such as this, the teen has shut down painful feelings and has become numb to feeling anything good or bad. At this point the teen is definitely in a crisis situation. The cutting becomes a way to feel anything, as a way to just feel alive.

One of the very first fundamental steps to helping out troubled teens who cut themselves is to identify that a teenager indeed has a cutting problem, which is often difficult for parents and other caregivers to face.

Parents and other loved ones tend to ignore the warning signs, wanting desperately to believe the cuttings were just an accident or a stage the child will outgrow. This happens not because parents don’t want to help their teens but because the alternative idea that they have a teen in crisis is too painful to face.

Once it has been determined that a teen actually is a self cutter the next step is to determine their particular reasons for the self-cutting.

The Reasons For Self-Injury

Many people believe that teens who cut themselves are doing it simply for the attention but in all actuality this may not be the case. Yes,in some instances, it’s possible that it really is a cry for help or a request for attention. However, doctors and specialists regard it more often as an unhealthy coping mechanism.

There are even instances where stress caused by traumatic events can lead to an attempt to repeat the pain or to re-experience strong feelings, which can then lead teens in such a crisis to harming themselves.

In other words, teens who cut themselves do so when they haven’t developed a healthy way of dealing with problems, whatever those problems may be, and therefore resort to self-injury.

An Unhealthy Way To Take Control

So, we have determined that self-cutting is psychologically seen by the teenager as a way to cope with problems or as a means of taking back control in a crisis situation. We as adults can logically see that it’s an unhealthy way to cope but teens who cut themselves don’t see any other option.

Throughout all of our daily lives, stress from certain situations builds up, and as this stress builds the emotional tension also grows and grows. Many people with healthy coping mechanisms in place find release for these types of tension by talking their problems over with other people, physically releasing it through some form of exercise or other physical activity, and some even use guided imagery or meditation techniques.

However, not all teenagers have developed these skills or have even been taught how to use these healthy coping methods yet. In these instances, the tension gets too much and teens in crisis who cut themselves often see self-harm as the only solution to their problem.

Of course, self-cutting can sometimes be associated with other mental health problems, such as depression, bipolar disorder or post traumatic stress disorder so all teens who cut themselves need to be properly diagnosed by professionals to determine the severity of the problem and the exact treatment they will need.

Self-Injury Does Not Treat The Cause, It Only Masks The Symptoms

Although parents would like to believe it, teens who cut themselves are not likely to miraculously stop doing so. Even though many adolescents learn to understand that cutting is harmful, the self-harm still masks some unwanted feelings or pain and that masking effect is sometimes a desirable one as far as the teen is concerned and therefore hard for the teen to let go of.

However, the emotional relief teens feels from the self-cutting are only short lived because they aren’t actually treating the cause of the problem in the first place they are only masking the symptoms of the crisis they are faced with so there is a strong need to repeat the self cutting again and again.

The Physical Risks Of Self-Cutting

Remember, teens who cut themselves are trying to relieve negative feelings, but there actually are physical risks associated with this self harming behavior. Although most self-cutters don’t intend to cause themselves lasting physical damage and they also don’t intend to continue cutting themselves, both can easily happen. Deep cuts or infection are not uncommon and can lead to treatment or even hospitalization in some cases.

An Attempt To Fit In

As talk about self-cutting becomes more commonplace between teenage boys and girls, it is possible that the practice itself will become more common. There already have been cases of teenagers cutting themselves in order to fit in with close friends who do the same thing.

Self-Injury In Troubled Teens

Troubled teenage girls are the most prone to self-cutting but it’s also becoming more common among troubled teenage boys.

The signs of self-cutting in most cases are fairly easy to spot, and even if you don’t see the physical injuries or scars you should notice changes in your adolescents behavior.

Cutting is a destructive and sometimes in rare cases even a fatal method of controlling one’s emotions, dealing with emotional pain or even fitting in. Regardless of the reason that your teens are in crisis, the risks are very real so unless the emotional or mental cause of the problem is treated, the self-injury is not likely to stop. Therefore, it’s imperative that teens who cut themselves get help as soon as possible.