Help for Cutting and Addiction

Cutting is a form of self-injury that involves cutting oneself to the point of bleeding. Most people cut their wrists, arms, legs or stomachs and attempt to hide the scars and marks from others. In addition to cutting, some people self-injure by burning their skin.

Statistics about Cutting

While the statistics about cutting are difficult to formalize, because few studies have been conducted, it is estimated that, in the United States, one in every 200 girls between 13 and 19 years old cut themselves regularly. Those who cut comprise about 70 percent of teen girls who self injure. There is a strong indication that the number of cases is on the rise.

Without treatment, many who begin cutting themselves as teens will continue the behavior well into their adult years. The typical self-injurer is the following:

  • Female
  • In her mid-20’s to early 30s
  • Continuing the pattern of cutting that started in her teens
  • Intelligent and well educated
  • Middle or upper-middle class
  • From a home where she was physically and/or sexually abused
  • The child of at least one alcoholic parent

People who cut often suffer from either significant emotional trauma or from psychiatric illnesses like bipolar disorder, depression or anxiety disorders. The ritual-type behavior of cutting is also common in people with obsessive compulsive disorder.

Why Do People Cut?

With cutting being such a painful physical experience, it may seem hard to believe that the primary reason a person cuts is to deal with the pain of extreme stress and strong emotions. Other patterns that have emerged regarding cutting include the fact that people cut to do the following:

  • Feel in control
  • Get relief from negative emotional feelings
  • Express strong feelings of loneliness, rejection and rage
  • Respond to a trigger that throws a person into emotional turmoil

Cutting can become addictive, because the temporary relief that a person experiences is strong enough to outweigh the dangerous risk to health.

Cutting and Addiction

People who cut often suffer any of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • An inability to cope with the stresses of everyday life
  • Intense feelings of rejection, loneliness or anger
  • A sense that they cannot find viable solutions to change how they feel

These characteristics are similar to those of people who suffer from other addictions. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find that many people who cut themselves also participate and other self-abusive behaviors such as drug abuse.

Treatment for Cutting and Addiction

Cutting may be a difficult pattern to break, and it is recommended that a person seek help from a mental health professional. Professionals are trained to provide assistance to a person who is dealing with cutting and addiction by doing the following:

  • Helping the person identify the underlying emotions that are triggering these abusive behaviors
  • Identifying strategies to respond to these emotions in a healthier manner
  • Creating a healthy life plan that includes good nutrition, exercise and stress relieving activities to help balance emotions

Ultimately, the counselor wants to help the person find something positive to replace the cutting and thus eliminate the behavior. While this takes time and effort, those who get assistance are able to learn how to express themselves and respond to emotionally charged situations in a healthier manner.

Get Help for Cutting and Addiction

Don’t put yourself at risk any longer. We know it is difficult to take the first step towards recovery from cutting and addiction. However, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about cutting and addiction treatment. We are here to help.