By: DeAnn Maccloskey

Cutting, a form of self-harming is unfortunately far too common amongst teenagers today. There comes a point where a teenager may no longer know the best way to cope with stress, sadness, anger and other emotions. The emotional pain is too much to handle and the only way they can find relief is by diverting their attention away from the emotional pain and directing it to physical pain. I have had clients describe cutting as “an escape,” “a release” and even “a high.” Orlando Self-Harm Counseling Can Help!

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Although a teenager that cuts is not necessarily suicidal, this is a devastating, accidental outcome much too often. This negative coping mechanism is one that needs to be addressed as soon as it is brought to light. If you are unsure if your teen may be cutting, then here are some signs to look out for.

  1. You may begin to notice that he or she has withdrawn from friends and family. Isolation is one of the biggest signs of self-harming because it is a shameful and embarrassing experience and usually done alone in secret.
  2. You may also begin to notice that your teen is no longer participating in activities that he or she once took interest in like sports, extracurricular activities, dance, music, etc. They have turned their once healthy outlet into a negative coping mechanism.
  3. You may see or hear that the music they are listening to or the movies/YouTube videos they are watching are very “dark.” There are plenty of artists putting out music and/or videos sending a message that teens feel they can relate to, but the message is usually pretty heavy and negative.
  4. If you see changes in your teen’s behavior, then this may also be a sign of cutting. Because he or she is not positively dealing with emotional distress, then their emotions may be running higher than normal causing outbursts of anger, frustration and sadness. These behaviors can be at school or at home.
  5. One of the more obvious signs is actually seeing scratches, cuts, or marks of any kind on your teenager. Many teens cut on their arms, but some are more subtle and cut on their upper thighs, stomachs and backs. If your teen is cutting, you may notice that they are constantly wearing long sleeves/sweatshirts even when it’s hot out. Or they may have their arms covered with bracelets, watches or other accessories.

If your teen is showing any of these signs it is not too late to get help. Call me today at Life Counseling Solutions 407-622-1770 for a complimentary 15-minute consultation and to schedule an appointment.