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Ask The Experts

Addicted to Cutting


I think I’m addicted to cutting. It’s been going on for 3 years and I just want to stop but I can only go about 3 days without cutting. I’m to scared to ask a friend or family member and I’m terrified of going to a therapist. Please help me.

Victor Schwartz, M.D., Medical Director, The Jed Foundation answers:

Many people who have difficulties controlling their impulses or behaviors experience significant shame. This includes people like you who cut themselves but also occurs commonly among people who have eating disorders, gambling problems or problems with drugs or alcohol. And a common result of this shame is that people, like you mention above, are afraid to ask for help.

So let me suggest a few things to you. First, many people struggle with impulse and behavior problems such as these and while it may feel shameful or embarrassing, the people who can help you see many people with similar kinds of problems. And it is important to realize that there is help available. There are several types of talk therapy which can be very helpful in helping you to limit and eventually stop these behaviors and when talk therapy is not sufficient to manage this, there are some medicines which can help too.

But first you will need to reach out to someone to get help. A family member, medical doctor, clergy person or counselor in school out to be able to help you find the help you need in your school or community. It can really make a difference.