Why adults cut themselves

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When people think of self-harm, they often picture a teenage girl cutting herself, but self-harm in adults is more common than people realize. Adult self-injury also known as self-harm or self-mutilation is not limited to a particular age nor a gender. The Program is participating in a clinic-wide initiative to learn more about self-injury and to develop new protocols to treat it, since it is a frequent health issue among Menninger patients.

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Cutting is when a person deliberately hurts themselves by scratching or cutting their body with a sharp object. The reasons someone might do this are complicated. People who cut themselves might be trying to cope with frustration, anger, or emotional turmoil.

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Verified by Psychology Today. How to Be Yourself. Self-harm is one of the last things people feel ashamed of—despite it being far more widespread than you might suspect.

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The functions of non-suicidal self-injury were examined in 39 young adults with a history of skin-cutting and other self-injurious behaviors including banging, burning, and severe scratching. Consequences, affect-states, and reasons associated with self-injury were assessed by a structured interview. Results indicate that self-injury is associated with improvements in affective valence and decreases in affective arousal. Specifically, participants tended to feel overwhelmed, sad, and frustrated before self-injury, and relieved and calm after self-injury.

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Self-harm is most common in adolescents and young adults, but can occur in people from other age groups. Those who engage in these activities may have depression, other mental health disorders such as anxiety, or no clinical diagnosis. Some of the young adults we interviewed in this study described self-harm activities as part of their experience of depression.

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People go to great lengths to protect themselves from pain and injury. But some people hurt themselves on purpose to help them deal with bad feelings or thoughts. This is called self-harm.

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Self-harmalso known as self-injuryis defined as the intentional, direct injuring of body tissuedone without the intent to commit suicide. Other forms include behaviour such as burning, scratching, or hitting body parts. While older definitions included behaviour such as interfering with wound healing, excessive skin picking dermatillomaniahair pulling trichotillomania and the ingestion of toxic substances or objects as self-harm, [2] [7] [8] in current terminology those are differentiated from the term self-harm.

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Cutting entails making small cuts on body parts such as the wrists, arms, legs, stomach, and chest. People who cut themselves usually try to conceal their wounds, thereby cutting in places easily covered by clothing. Affecting young people aged years old, cutting is the most common of all self-harm methods. Cutting falls under the category of self-harm in the DSM V Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and is classified as a symptom of borderline personality disorder.

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Other forms of self-injury include excessive scratching to the point of drawing blood, punching self or objects, infecting oneself, inserting objects into body openings, drinking something harmful like bleach or detergentand breaking bones purposefully. People who self-injure commonly report they feel empty inside, over or under stimulated, unable to express their feelings, lonely, not understood by others and fearful of intimate relationships and adult responsibilities. Self-injury is their way to cope with or relieve painful or hard-to-express feelings, and is generally not a suicide attempt.

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Skip navigation! This article contains material that may be sensitive to some readers. An estimated 1 in 15 young people self-harm in the UK, the majority of whom are teenage girls.

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