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Self-Harm / Cutting

teen cutting her own wrist

A teenager who suffers from depression, emotional turmoil or other problems may turn to self-destructive behaviors such as self-harm or cutting. It is used as a way to cope, release their pent-up emotions or to punish themselves. It is generally not a suicide attempt; however, the longer it remains untreated, the more it has the opportunity to escalate into something life-threatening. At Teen Depression, we know how serious self-harming behaviors can be, and we endeavor to help teenagers between the ages of 12-17 years old who are engaging in these types of behaviors. As a Southern California based Teen Depression Rehab Treatment Center, we offer our expertise in order to help them overcome this dangerous habit.

What is self-harm/cutting?
Self-harm, also known as self-abuse, self-mutilation, or self-injury, is characterized by an individual’s intentional and repetitive self-harming behavior. It is typically done out of impulse and is not generally intended to be lethal. Self-harming behaviors may include cutting, punching oneself, persistently picking at wounds, and other forms of self-injury. It is important to note that self-harming can be addictive. Teenagers who self-harm feel better as they injure themselves, however, the effect doesn’t last long and it drives them to harm themselves again. Eventually, what starts as an impulse becomes a dangerous habit.

Are there warning signs that someone is self-harming?
A common misconception about those who self-harm is that they are doing it for the attention – this is not always the case. People who self-harm typically do it in secret and they do their best to hide their injuries. They may hide it through long-sleeved shirts, pants, accessories, and other ways to cover up their wounds. You might be asking yourself, “How do I know if someone is self-harming?” Well, here are some common signs that you should watch out for:

  • Sharp objects, cutting instruments, or lighters in their belongings
  • Blood stains on tissues, bedding, or clothes
  • Unexplained scars, bruises, burns, and other wounds (typically on the wrist, thighs, or chest)
  • Signs of depression such as withdrawal from family and friends, mood swings, lack of motivation
  • Covering up even in hot weather (e.g. wearing long pants or long sleeves)
  • Irritability and isolation
  • Wanting to be alone for long periods of time

If you suspect that a teenager is self-harming, reach out to us immediately at 888-226-0766. We have qualified mental health professionals who are knowledgeable and experienced in handling these types of situations. Allow us to help.

NOTE: If you suspect that a teenager is at suicide risk, please take immediate action.

For 24/7 suicide support and prevention in the U.S., you may call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1-800-273-8255 or dial 911.

If you are not from the U.S., you may visit for more information regarding suicide awareness and support.