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Should I Be Concerned about My Teenager Cutting Themselves?

Approximately 2 million cases of self-harm are reported annually in the United States. Each year, 1 in 5 female teenagers and 1 in 7 male teenagers immerse in self-injury. If these statistics include your teenager, as a parent you should be concerned with how they are treating their body because the outcome could be devastating. Although many people who engage in cutting are not necessarily trying to end their life, nonetheless they could be unknowingly suicidal. The most common reason that teenagers are said to cut themselves is to relieve the negative emotions they are unable to openly express. Once the action of cutting takes place, the teen has an overwhelming sense of calmness to an otherwise anxiety ridden demeanor. The numbness that they feel day in and day out will instantaneously stimulate them through the cutting of their skin. A teen who cuts themselves will start to disassociate from their loved ones and become more visibly irritated. Other signs of cutting may be wearing long sleeves in the summer or lying about the marks on their body, so that they can continue to keep their self-injury a secret. Teens may lock themselves in the bathroom or their bedrooms for extended periods of time. Parents should look for stashed razor blades or knives and any remnants of blood. If these things become apparent, your teen may be in trouble and may need some help to stop. Most parent's first reaction may be of fear and shock, and understandably so. Putting their initial feelings aside is important to reach their teenager with some compassion. Find a therapist to get them evaluated to keep them doing any further harm which could possibly save their life. Instead of cutting, they can find more appropriate measures to better cope with their emotional nature.    Parents will also need to gain support for how they feel with the situation which will also model a good example for their teen. Many teens oppose getting help because they think they will appear weak or feel incapable of opening up to a complete stranger about something so shameful to them. The discovery that a teen is cutting themselves can leave a parent feeling helpless. Staying as calm as possible can help create the best-case scenario in recovery for a teen who needs guidance.   

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center leads the way with progressive, evidence-based programming to most effectively treat each individual adolescent while focusing on the uniqueness of each client. Healing the mind, the body, and the spirit as one in the same can make the biggest difference in staying sober.

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