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Self-Injury Causes

The causes of self-injury are varied. Most teens who cut say they do it get relief from overwhelming feelings or to feel something when they can’t feel anything.  


Here are some possible reasons:



For more information on reasons people self-injury...

Coping Mechanism

Some people who self-injure report that their feelings are so strong they feel like they are going to explode. By injuring the wound is external and visible, something that can be seen and cared for.


Some who self-injure report that the pain produced by self-injury is pain over which they have control, as opposed to life situations and feelings that seem out of control.


There is evidence to indicate that when people are injured, endorphins are released, creating  a temporary high.


When a person self-injures to get this high, after the high is gone all the problems still exist. The desire to self-injure remains. As the self-injury continues the degree, duration and frequency sometime increase. In extreme cases tolerance to any feelings may develop.

Brain Chemistry

The causes of self-injury may also be tied to brain chemistry. Some brain researchers see a connection between self-injury and serotonin levels. It is not yet clear whether the reduced serotonin levels associated with self-injury are the cause of the behavior or the result of it.

Childhood Environment

Other studies associate self-injury with a childhood environment. Sexual and other kinds of abuse, neglect, and invalidation seem to play a part in some cases, but not all.


Invalidation of a child's experience or feelings may not be physically abusive or neglectful but seems to dispose some to cut.


Children need to be taken seriously and treated with love and respect.


For more information on invalidation...

Further Study

For more information about how to tel if you or someone you know is a self-injurer...


Continue through topic to Self-Injury Types.


Go from Self-Injury Causes to Counseling Appointment.


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