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Teen Self-Injury, Self-Mutilation and Cutting
Self-injury, also known as self-abuse, self-harm, self-mutilation or cutting is on the rise among teens. In this article we will review statistics on teen self injury, reasons teens give for self-mutilation, warning signs of cutting, and what to do about self-injury.
Self-injury is a negative way of dealing with strong emotions, and can include cutting, scratching, burning, mutilating or hitting oneself, or anything else that causes bodily harm.
According to CNN.com, one in five teens say they have purposely injured themselves at some time. Some teens see self-injury as trendy, but to parents and others it can be frightening and frustrating. It is most common in the adolescent and teenage years and affects people from both sexes and all backgrounds, though the National Mental Health Association and S.A.F.E. Alternatives report that those who seek help for self-injury are more likely to be teenage girls from middle or upper class backgrounds.
Teen self-injury, self-mutilation or cutting can be overcome, but the problems causing a teen to self-injure or self-mutilate, such as cutting, need to be resolved and the teen must learn healthier ways to deal with emotions. Some of the reasons teens give for self-injuring or self mutilating include:
Teen self-injury or self-mutilation is dangerous, especially cutting, leaving physical and emotional scars and sometimes leading to serious injury or death. Though teen self-injury or self-mutilation is not a suicide attempt, some teens who self-injure or self-mutilate also attempt suicide, and many engage in other risky behaviors such as drinking and drug use, or suffer from eating disorders associated with troubled teens. Because teens who self-injure or self-mutilate often do not know how to ask for help, it is important to watch for some of these signs that a teen may be harming him or herself, or is at risk for doing so:
Self-injury and self-mutilation is often addictive, and can become increasingly serious. It is possible for a teen to stop, but it usually requires help. If you think your teen or someone you know is self-injuring or self-mutilating such as cutting themselves, here are some things you can do:
Resources: If your teen or someone you know is feeling suicidal or has a serious injury, call 911 or go to the emergency room immediately. For more information about teen self-injury such as cutting and how to get help, go to the web site of The Center for Young Women's Health at http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/si.html, or call S.A.F.E. Alternatives (Self Abuse Finally Ends) at 1-800-DONTCUT (800-366-8288).
Related Article: Teen Eating Disorders >>