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Cutting and mental disorders
Posted on: 10/01/2006
A few years ago I used to cut my arm when I would get upset. I haven't done it in over 3 years but I'm wondering if I could have a mental disorder.
Cutting is a form of tension release that is maladaptive simply because it does not develop responses to the original stressor(s) that will decrease the problem/stress the next time the stressor arises; it simply releases tension (anxiety or anger or frustration etc., any of which may also be accompanied by depressive feelings or thoughts), and often leaves the person feeling defeated or needing to hide the cutting or the marks; it also delivers endorphins since the body is responding to injury with opiate-type hormones, similar to "runners'-high", and one can get hooked on that as a means of trying to calm, but it is short-lived and not productive. Rather than calling it a mental disorder, it is classified as an impulsive control problem and may coexist with any interpersonal problems, adjustment difficulties, or often undiagnosed mood disorder. It's good that you stopped, and if anytime you feel the inclination, get some help in examining your underlying feelings and begin talking them out and developing stronger coping skills.