My friends and I cut ourselves on our wrists and ankles and stomachs. We always promise each other that we won’t do it anymore, but whenever we have a hard time we do it. How can we stop?
It seems that you and your friends are a part of an alarming trend. According to a study funded by the University of Missouri-Columbia, cutting and other self-injurious behaviors affect approximately 3 million people–primarily adolescent girls and young adult women. It’s no wonder. Teens and young adults face an enormous amount of stress in their families, at school, in friendships and in dating relationships.
Some cut themselves as a response to feeling empty and numb and feel that this more “tangible” pain helps to make their emotional pain more real. Still others cut themselves because it induces a kind of “high.” As when using certain drugs, teens may experience a release of endorphins, which provide temporary relief from emotional distress, numbing them from intense emotions brought about by psychological issues, including sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, low self-esteem or depression.
The good news is that, with treatment, you can all stop cutting. Please see a psychologist and recommend that your friends do the same. Speak with your school counselor first if you’re too nervous to tell your parents. Most psychologists recommend a multidisciplinary approach involving various types of therapy to help you learn how to handle emotional situations, instead of acting on them. Since treatment seeks to get at the underlying cause of the self-injury. A doctor may also prescribe anti-depressants or other medications, depending on the root of the problem.
One note, however: Since you and your friends seem to have bonded over cutting–in effect, reinforcing each other’s behavior–it may be doubly difficult for you to stop cutting unless you separate yourself from this specific group of friends. It might be best to take a break from them, until you feel you have a better handle on the situation.
You may also want to check out our cutting and self-mutilation resources and use the button at the bottom of this page to send this information to your friends.
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