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Get a Counselor When your Teen Cuts Herself-From Dundee, Elgin and McHenry

May 25, 2008
Self-injury, is when your teen deliberately hurts his or her own body. Some self-injuries can leave scars that will not go away, while others leave marks or bruises that eventually will.

These are some forms of self-injury common to teens:

1. Cutting themselves (such as using a razor blade, knife or other sharp object to cut the skin)

2. Punching self or other objects

3. Burning themselves with cigarettes, matches or candles

4. Pulling out their hair

5. Poking objects through ones body openings

6. Breaking their bones or bruising themselves

7. Plucking their hair for hours

8. Excessive, harmful tattooing or piercing

Why do some teens want to hurt themselves?

Many teens cut themselves because it gives them some sense of relief. Some of them use cutting as a means to cope with any problem and most feel a sort of tension reduction when they hurt themselves.

Believe it or not, they are trying to stop feeling lonely, angry, or hopeless when using self injury. Some teens who hurt themselves have low self-esteem, feel unloved by their family and friends, may have an eating disorder, an alcohol or drug problem or may have been victims of abuse.

Teens who hurt themselves often keep their feelings bottled up and have a hard time letting them show. Some teens who hurt themselves say that feeling the pain provides a sense of relief from intense and unpleasant emotions.

Cutting can relieve the tension from bottled up sadness or anxiety. Others hurt themselves in order to feel anything at all.

Often people who hold back strong emotions begin feeling numb and cutting is seen as one way to remedy this. Some teens also may hurt themselves because they want to fit in with others who do it.

If your teen is hurting him or herself, PLEASE GET HIM OR HER HELP IMMEDIATELY! It is possible to overcome the urge to cut. There are other ways they can learn to help them find relief and cope with their emotions.

If you are a parent, please discuss it with your adolescent and talk to a clinical psychologist, your doctor or a professional counselor. You can also call the American Counseling Association or the American Psychological Association for help.

Who are the people who hurt themselves?

People who hurt themselves come from all walks of life, no matter their age, gender, race or ethnicity, although many are young adults and students. About one in 100 people hurts himself or herself on purpose.

More females do so than males and many hurt themselves by cutting with sharp objects.

What are the signs of self-injury?

These are some signs of self-injury:

1. Cuts or scars on the arms or legs

2. Hiding cuts or scars by wearing long sleeved shirts or pants, even in hot weather

3. Making poor excuses about how the injuries happened

Self-injury can be dangerous and cutting can lead to infections, scars, numbness, and even hospitalization and death. People who share tools to cut themselves are also at risk of getting and spreading diseases like HIV and hepatitis.

Teens who continue to hurt themselves are less likely to learn how to cope with negative feelings constructively and maturely.

Are you the parent or teacher of a teen who is depressed, angry or having a hard time coping with life? If he or she is hurting him or herself or even thinking about it, PLEASE DISCUSS IT AND GET HELP for him or her!

Talk with the adolescents parent, or if you are the parent, get help from a mental health professional or clinical psychologist. Getting help for a troubled adolescent is your responsibility.

A self-destructive teen has a right to have the chance to be strong, safe and happy! Please get him or her to talk to a trusted professional immediately.

Your teen will likely need professional counseling and treatment. Help is available; counselors can teach positive ways to your adolescent to cope with problems so he or she does not have to turn to self-injury for relief.

Do you think your teen may have been pressured to cut him or herself by others? If so, notify your kids therapist and discuss the impact of that friendship or relationship with your teen.

After all, does he or she really want friends who want him or her to hurt herself or himself? Also, discuss this with the therapist so he or she can encourage your kid to hang out with other friends who do not pressure him or her in this way.
About the Author
Dr Shery is in Cary, IL, near Algonquin, Crystal Lake, Marengo and Lake-in-the-Hills. He's an expert psychologist. Call 1 847 516 0899 and make an appt orlearn more about counseling at: http://www.carypsychology.com
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