Self-Mutilation is an Addiction

The criteria for addition to alcohol and drugs are diagnosed using the criteria for substance dependence. There are 7 criteria for substance dependence and the person would have to have at least 3 of the criteria within the same year.

  1. Tolerance- A- a need for increased amounts of the substance to achieve desired effect; B- noticable diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of the substance.
  2. Withdrawl Symptoms
  3. The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
  4. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
  5. A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance.
  6. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of the substance abuse
  7. The substance use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused by the substance.

If you replace the word substance with the word cutting; wouldn’t it fit just perfectly?

  • People build a tolerance for self-mutilation. It starts off as just one cut and then one cut is no longer enough. You then need another and another.
  • When you do not cut you start building cravings. similar to an individual going through withdrawal.
  • The amount of cuts grow as well as the depth. They become dangerously deeper.
  • You can not seem to bring down the urge or control it.
  • You spend your day seeing ordinary items as useful tools.
  • Summer is no longer fun when it is filled with long pants and hooded sweat shirts.
  • You know it is wrong, dangerous, and hurtful to others but you do not seem to care.

Recovered or Lifer?

Are we ever really recovered? I have been labeling myself a recovered self-harmer for some time now. I use to self-harm for more than 10 years and have not self-harmed for about 5 years. A therapist would say that I have recovered from my self-destructive urges. However, does anyone actually recover from self-mutilation?

You have not done the act of physical self-harm but the urges never go away. They can still be triggered by vivid descriptions of the act or the images that people post up on their social media sites. To see an image of mutilated fresh can make even the strongest of individuals powerless or uneasy. The sight alone can bring back an enormous amount of memories of self-destruction. You fight against it and win the internal battle.

We are not recovered. We are lifers. We struggle day in and day out to stay away from self-harm. This truly is an addiction. A person that was addicted to alcohol can not say I was an alcoholic. They are forever deemed as an alcoholic even when recovered.

Rubber Band

Rubber Band

As I was looking through other writers blogs and reading different people’s work I came across this one post. This post asked if anyone had ever tried self-harming and that they tried it for the first time. I commented and wanted to warn this person of all its addictive powers. I said that they should stay away from it and stop before it’s too late. It almost came off like I was pleading.

I recall my own therapist telling me about things that can help you transition. I am sure many of you have heard of snapping a rubber band against your wrist when you have an urge to cut. This was my suggestion to the person who put up the post.

I then began thinking and asked myself if this really is a transition? I remember trying it for about a week but then returned to cutting. I never gave it a good try. My point to this is you are replacing self-harm with another form of self-harm. How effective is that?

Insight into “A Sad but Expected Farewell”

That journal entry is a tribute to my razor. I wrote it with the hopes of expressing my huge attachment and years of dependency on that cold piece of metal. It was one of my many attempts to separate myself from my ever consuming  addition to cutting. I sadly have to note that I failed shortly after bidding farewell. Also, there were many attempts to stop and many more failures.

I don’t believe people truly understand the magnitude of suffering from that type of addiction. It truly is an addiction even if people choose not to acknowledge it as one.

Addiction– the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.

The definition of that word describes cutting or self harm in every which way and form. A person truly suffers day in and day out. One needs to cut just as badly as an alcoholic needs their next drink. Everything about your life comes down to your next cut, the amount of blood you spill and the perfect looking scar left after it all.