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.
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.
The substance is often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended
There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control substance use.
A great deal of time is spent in activities necessary to obtain the substance.
Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of the substance abuse
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.
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.
There are so many cases regarding people finding out about cutters. For whatever reason they will see that cut but, I really want to know is it possible that maybe we want people to find out? Somewhere along the cutting spree do we mess up on purpose? Is this our way of asking for help?
I must ask myself did I want to keep my secret forever? Does any of us want to keep that secret or do we secretly wish for someone to see that cut, that one cut that will let us know that help is on the way.
Did I want people to find out about my cutting? Is it possible that I did mess up on purpose and that I wore cuts on certain places to have someone figure out my secret? Was that day that I put myself in the hospital an accident or a semi sub-conscious way of seeking help? Did I secretly want to stop cutting? If yes why after all is revealed was I still cutting myself?
Somewhere along the line I feel that maybe we do mess up on purpose and that we are forced to do something drastic in order to seek help. We are forced to go to the extreme simply because no one noticed how fucked up we are.
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?