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Cutting & Self-Injury

1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
What is cutting and self-injury?

Self-injury is a negative way of dealing with strong emotions that can include cutting, scratching, burning, self-mutilating, hitting oneself or any other behavior that intentionally causes bodily harm. Self-injury and cutting is an addictive behavior in that cutters experience overwhelming preoccupation with the relief they experience after cutting incidents. Cutting and self-injury can become increasingly serious.

Prevalence of self-injury in teens.

Self-injury is most common in teenagers. According to, one in five teens say they have purposely injured themselves at some time. Though it affects teens from both sexes and all backgrounds, the National Mental Health Association and S.A.F.E. Alternatives report that those who seek help for self-injury are more likely to be teenaged girls from middle or upper class backgrounds.

Reasons why teens self-mutilate or cut.

Some of the reasons teens self-injure or self-mutilate include:

  • Not knowing how to deal with stress
  • Unresolved history of abuse
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of loneliness or fear
  • Need to feel in control
  • Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Wanting to get the attention of people who can help them
  • Peer pressure
  • Curiosity

Cutting and self-injury is typically not an overt suicide attempt

Signs of teen cutting and self-injury.

Teens who self-injure or self-mutilate often do not know how to ask for help, so it is important to watch for signs that a teen may be harming herself. These signs are:

  • Unexplained injuries, such as cuts, scratches, burns or bruises
  • Making excuses for injuries or scars
  • Wearing long sleeves even in hot weather
  • Withdrawal
  • Trouble dealing with emotions
  • History of eating disorders
  • Trouble functioning at work, school, and in relationships
  • Low self-esteem

Many teens who self-injure also engage in other risky behaviors, such as drinking and drug use, or suffer from eating disorders.

Treating cutting and self-injury disorders.

It is possible for a teen to stop cutting or hurting herself, but recovery usually requires professional treatment. If your teen struggles with self-injury, Caron can help.