How to Help Someone Who Cuts: Introduction

People have a variety of ways to cope when going thru a hard time. Some people find healthy ways, but reality is that many people seek out ways to cope that are destructive and make things worse. Whether a person turns to addiction, isolating from loved ones, or hurting themselves to ease the pain, if the coping skill isn't promoting a person's emotional health and growth, it can lead down a bad path.

This week we are helping people understand more about cutting. It is something we've seen clients of many ages engage in to "numb" the pain of life.

What is cutting?

Cutting is commonly done as a way for someone to release their internal pain. If they feel the pain of the cut, it lessens the pain inside. People may cut to relieve the pain from abuse, feelings of shame and self doubt, low self-esteem, and when struggling with trust or feeling betrayed.

This can be very addictive and compulsive for some - similar to how someone feels when they are on drugs or drinking and experience a high.  Cutting can provide a similar relief from an emotional pain or stress. But just like drinking and drugs- after you sober up- the problem still remains and has not gone away. Cutting or scratching can be done on any part of the body, but is commonly done on arms, wrists, thighs, stomach, or hips.

Cutting isn’t always about being suicidal - although many cutters can escalate to that point. It is much more about gaining control when they feel out of control.

Now that we have a common understanding of what cutting is and why people may do it, check back all week for specifics on how to react, support and get help for someone who cuts.

Guest post written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling.