Social Work Programs

May 2, 2011

Teenagers And Cutting

Filed under: teenage cutting — Tags: — admin @ 2:05 pm

teenage cutting Mental health professionals use the term “cutting” to describe behavior using a sharp instrument to draw blood from your body. Usually they are surface cuts which may leave a person’s arm or leg looking striped with scars. Sometimes people may cut deeper and can cause serious bleeding and even possibly death if they cut a vein. Most cutters are teens and young adults that need counseling to help turn this behavior around.

Most cutters are depressed. They feel numb and empty. Some say they don’t feel alive. When they cut they enjoy the feeling and they may say that it makes them feel alive. Seeing the blood also gives them a sense of having something inside –not being empty.

One of my clients told me that also she’d rather inflict the pain on herself than feel the pain others have inflicted on her. It gave her a sense of control. When she started to look at her reactions to past hurts she began to heal. It is important to process the emotions with a counselor to get insight. Sometimes we feel hurt and then push it down inside of us. But, facing the actual hurt is very important. It also can fade more quickly when you look at it. Also one gets rid of that numbness by processing emotions and is able to feel again.

Signs that a person is “cutting”

Wearing long pants or long sleeves on hot days may be a sign that the person is trying to cover the scars on their arms or legs. Seeing blood on sheets or in the bathroom may also be a sing. Razors that have been hidden in a draw or safety blades that are broken or taken apart could also indicate a cutter. Blood on the sleeves or pant legs of the clothing could also be a sign. And of course if you see the cuts or scars don’t accept poor excuses for why they are there – look further. Look at arms, legs and the abdomen.

How can you help a cutter?

Do not feel that making a teen promise not to do it again will stop the problem. Cutting is addictive and they will often not stop. Medication and therapy will be needed to help the cutter get control of the problem. If the cutting is serious they may need inpatient care. Get the cutter to a doctor and have them assess the situation. Don’t try to handle this alone. Family therapy techniques and sessions may be included in the treatment. Be an alert parent or family member. Cutting is serious and dangerous and is a cry for help from someone.

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