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Why Do People Cut Themselves?

What's the Deal With Cutting?

News that Demi Lovato entered rehab came as a surprise today. The 18-year-old Disney actress isn't going in for a cocaine bust, like former Disney star Lindsay Lohan, but rather to reportedly address her cutting issue. A source said: "She fought through eating disorders and has struggled with cutting. [She] is taking control by getting help."

As it's most broadly defined, self-injury disorder happens when someone intentionally injures his or her own body. Its occurrence is not limited by education, age, or gender, however, it's most common among adolescent girls and people with a history of abuse, other problems like OCD or an eating disorder, or those who grew up in a family that discouraged emotional expression. People who cut themselves do it to relieve pain and pressure, to challenge emotional numbness, and to feel pain on the outside and not just on the inside.

In addition to talking to someone you trust and getting professional help like Demi, there are some tips for dealing with urges to self-injure. Some include: running, screaming, or punching a pillow to relieve anger; squeezing ice cubes, taking a very cold shower, or chewing something spicy to help you safely feel less numb; or taking a bubble bath or practicing yoga to calm yourself.

Have you had any personal experience with cutting?

Image Source: WireImage
Join The Conversation
Burkina Burkina 6 years
"Extreme weight loss, at least 2 nose jobs, different teeth, new hair color, boob job, fat removed from her face" Alright I think that might be a little too far. Shes no doubt lost weight and changed her hair colour.. but there is nothing wrong with dyeing your hair. Compare photos of her and there is no difference in her nose, chest or teeth.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 6 years
I did it once, I was drunk as hell and I had popped a bunch of percocets. I cut deep as hell straight down my fore-arm, I still have a faint scar from it. Everyone saw it but it was so gruesome no one suspected I had done it myself. It didn't make me feel any better, it just made me bleed everywhere. I knew someone who had been cutting and I just wanted to know what it was like.
tigr3bianca tigr3bianca 6 years
The ability to physically manifest emotional pain and control it, that is why I did many self destructive behaviors like cutting, tweezing hair, anorexia/bulimia. I was too young to understand why I felt pain inside, so to deal with it, I brought it outside. Once I was able to understand why I felt emotional pain, I stopped hurting myself. Also, I kept these behaviors hidden, no one knew about them.
turtleshell turtleshell 6 years
I was bulimic for a quarter of my life. I used to cut myself on my upper thighs - somewhere no one would see. I wasn't able to go swimming for two summers after I stopped because I wanted the scars to go away first. It was definitely not a way of getting attention. Only one person knows about the cutting, and I also did the plucking hairs thing a few other comments mention... Nothing really to contribute to this other than building on the "it's more common than you think" thought.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 6 years
I used to do this when I was in high school, but I grew out of it. And I always covered it up - no one knew until I told my current boyfriend almost 10 years later.
janneth janneth 6 years
It's more common than you may think.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 6 years
Very sad, hope she gets the help she needs
totygoliguez totygoliguez 6 years
I have never been a cutter,but I do know people who have. My best friend did it as a way to relief stress and due to emotional distress. Its a very unfortunate situation. As someone already said, it's very common.
lickety-split lickety-split 6 years
My girls love her show, sunny with a chance, on the Disney channel. For the past year we have watched the physical changes she has under gone. Extreme weight loss, at least 2 nose jobs, different teeth, new hair color, boob job, fat removed from her face. It's got to be stress inducing to be told "you're a star!" and in the next sentence "we think you'll be more marketable after THIS procedure". Seriously, post a pix of her a year ago next to one of her now. She looks nothing like she use to look.
catita85 catita85 6 years
I unfortunately did this for a few years. It was a sad, sad time for me, and I did it on my arms, which were always covered. I hope Demi gets the help she needs.
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 6 years
One of my best friends did when she was in grade school. This happened even before I met her. She told me about it in HS and that she went to therapy and hasn't done it since. From what I know most cutters aren't doing it as a cry for attention - they usually cut in areas that are covered by clothes. Also, maybe those that "do it for the attention" do have internal issues of their own that they need to deal with.
Pistil Pistil 6 years
I did it and no one was none the wiser. I'm embarrassed about it now, though I still feel like some sort of physical release when I'm in a state. I had a friend whom I suspected did it too, but she would always blame her cat.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 6 years
I've never been a cutter, but during times of extreme emotional stress, I've been known to pluck. Instead of shaving my legs/bikini, etc., I'd use tweezers to pluck each hair out individually. Also not extraordinarily healthy, but it was convenient for me because no one asked questions.
Burkina Burkina 6 years
The cutting and anorexia are alleged at this point. She said she went in to deal with emotional issues. I have no experience so I cannot say but it varies between people. Some cut because they want to feel pain to satisfy the guilt they've had. Some people cut because the physical pain distracts from the emotional pain. There is no doubt many other reasons.
starbucks2 starbucks2 6 years
I had that happen in my school, too, skigurl. There were actually two girls who did the same thing. Very weird. My best friend used to cut herself. She tried to explain it to me, but I don't think I'll ever really understand it.
RoaringSilence RoaringSilence 6 years
Chewing something really hot sounds very close to harming oneself, too :( I remember pictures of her from about a year ago where she had what looked like scars on her wrists, but her publicists said they were only imprints from wearing rubber bands around her wrists. Now that it turned out that wasn't true, I wonder if they attempted to help her back then, too. Either way, I hope she gets better.
skigurl skigurl 6 years
I've never had direct experiences with it. I can't imagine doing it and don't know anyone who did (no one close to me). The one thing I do remember as a teenager, though, has always bugged me. A girl at school showed up one day with bandages on her wrists. But she was wearing a 3/4 length top. This is just a cry for attention, and that bothers me. If you really did this because you are struggling internally, you would wear a long-sleeved top and try to hide it. Ridiculous.
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