Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Do You Really Understand What Leads a Teen to Cut or Self-Injure?

Teen girlTest your knowledge on self-injury: Take the True or False Quiz 

Self-injury is:

1) A suicidal behavior. False. It is an attempt to self-soothe, control emotions, communicate what is difficult to say, or control and punish oneself through trauma reenactment. It helps a teen avoids suicidal feelings that are unbearable. This is an attempt to stay alive, to stay connected to something and not check out for good.

2) An addiction. False.  It is addictive-like in that it helps people feel better, though temporary, and it often increases in severity and intensity over time.


3) Any type of physical harm. False. The thing that distinguishes self-injury from other forms of physical harm is the elevated mood a teen experiences after self-injury.

4) A behavior that means a person is psychotic. False. The person is in her right mind but tormented with issues enacted through self-harm.

5) More than an attention getter. True. Some people think this is just a way to get attention when actually it is a cry for help and indicative of emotional pain.

6) A way to feel alive.  True. It breaks emotional numbness and reconnects the person to her body after a dissociative experience. She feels something, often feels alive due to the physical pain.


7) A sign that a teen can’t feel pain. False.  Even though the self-injurer may not feel pain while inflicting the wound, he or she will feel pain afterward.

8) A way to express what can’t be spoken. True. Even though this is indirect communication, self-injury communicates a need.

9) A form of self-loathing. True. It serves as a punishment for having strong (usually negative) feelings.

10) Something that a teen will typically outgrow. False. The teen needs help and new coping skills taught.  The most effective treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In the DBT model, self-injury is viewed as an ineffective way to solve problems. Therefore, the goal of DBT is to stop self-injury, and teach better problem-solving and distress tolerance. It is a structured treatment that incorporates cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Previous Posts

Why College Students Aren't Ready for Real Life
For 30 years I have taught in medical schools and universities. This generation is different. They are more anxious and suffer from higher rates of anxiety disorders.  And what I am about to say is a generalization. Not all college kids ...

posted 7:00:54am Oct. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Yes, We Have Guidelines for Sitting!
Last year, I wrote a blog, Is Sitting the New Smoking? In that blog, I reported on the impact of too much sitting on physical health. Too much sitting is linked to heart disease, diabetes, and early death from all causes. That’s right, the ...

posted 7:00:09am Oct. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Fighting? How You are Hurting Your Kids
Jack and Rachel have been in a contentious marriage for quite some time. Their friends would describe them as a high conflict couple. The stress is getting to their two middle school children who beg their parents to stop fighting and try to ...

posted 7:00:50am Oct. 09, 2015 | read full post »

What It Really Takes to Stop School Shootings
When I listen to any political person rail against guns as a fix for school shootings, I get upset. The focus in wrong and yet it persists and dominates headlines. This tells me there is a lack of real concern to address violence in our ...

posted 9:00:08am Oct. 07, 2015 | read full post »

What's At the Root of Your Procrastination?
Most of us know the feeling of procrastination. It often goes like this: I know I have to complete that project by the end of week. Nothing in me wants to do it. I'll go to the gym. Exercise will relax me and help me concentrate better. ...

posted 7:00:59am Oct. 05, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.