What Is Cutting Addiction?
There are numerous ways in which people deal with difficult emotions. For example, some people may vent to a friend, some might exercise, and others may internalize their feelings. However, some turn to self-harm to cope with their emotions. Self-harm, or self-injury, is defined as any type of deliberate injury to oneself, such as cutting, burning, hitting, or another self-inflicted wound. In this article, we will be focusing on cutting precisely.
Cutting addiction is an addiction where a person cuts themselves on purpose. Most people report engaging in self-harm due to feeling extremely tense, anxious, angry, or fearful, and then feeling relief, satisfaction, and decreased tension after self-harm behavior. In addition, some begin cutting because they see others engage in this behavior and believe it may help them feel better. Nonetheless, it usually only worsens the situation, potentially leading to infection, scars, and even death.1
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Cutting in Relation to Substance Abuse
There is a strong link between cutting and substance abuse. Similar to cutting addiction, substance abuse can be a way of self-medicating, numbing emotions, or coping with stress or difficult situations. Thus, those who struggle with their emotions tend to use cutting and substances to cope and alleviate pain or struggles.
What Causes a Person to Cut?
There is no single cause of cutting, as it is often the result of a combination of factors. Some of these factors may include:
How to Tell if Someone is Cutting
If you're worried that someone you know is cutting, there are some signs to look out for. These include:
Risk Factors for Cutting
Various risk factors can result in cutting, including:
Adolescence can be a difficult and trying stage in some people’s lives. Unfortunately, the uncertainty, hormones, stress, and emotions can become too challenging to manage, resulting in self-harm.
In contrast, age is sometimes met with a decline in mental and physical health, leading to a loss of motivation and an inability to cope with stress. As a result, older adults may turn to cutting to cope with their problems.
People who have experienced abuse or trauma are more likely to self-harm. This is because they may not have the necessary tools or support system to deal with their emotions.
Adolescence is a time of intense emotional upheaval. We can often feel lost and alone as we try to figure out who we are and where we fit in. These feelings of loneliness and rejection can lead to self-hatred, anger, and confusion.
As a result, adolescents may turn to self-harm to cope with their emotions.
People with friends and family members who self-harm are more likely to do so themselves. This is because people often model their behavior after those they spend the most time with.
Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders are often seen as a risk factor for cutting. For many people who suffer from mental health disorders, cutting can be a way to cope with the overwhelming emotions and feelings they experience daily.
Disorders like depression and anxiety can severely affect people’s daily lives, increasing the likelihood of developing a cutting addiction. It is estimated that around one in six adults will experience depression at one point in their lives.2
Drug or Alcohol Misuse
It's no secret that drugs and alcohol can be dangerous. People who misuse drugs or alcohol are more likely than others to engage in cutting and self-harm.