How can I stop my friend from cutting herself

Bielieber27 asks: Hello. I was over at my friend’s house the other day, and I found out that she cuts herself. I’m really scared – I don’t know what to do. She told me it was addicting and she wishes she could stop. I want help her but I don’t know how to. What should I do? Please Help!

Hi Bielieber27 –


You are absolutely right, and so is she.  Cutting is terrifying, and very addictive.  You’re a great friend for reaching out like this.  I hope your doing this encourages others to do the same.

For those who don’t know what we’re talking about here, some people – most often teenagers – find that they get a pleasurable sensation from cutting their skin.  Usually it happens because they are depressed and feel numb in their lives, so there’s a good feeling from the pain of the cuts.  If you think of how good it feels to scratch an itch – where you’re actually causing yourself more pain in a sense, but it gives you pleasure – that’s what this is like, magnified.

Of course, the difference between this and scratching an itch is that cutting is extremely dangerous.  Even potentially lethal.

In order to stop cutting, there are much safer techniques one can use to get similar feelings.  Some people put rubber bands on their wrists, and snap them.  Others do the cutting motion, but with the edges of ice cubes, so they get the feel without the actual body damage.

And that is the main point here, Bielieber27 – your friend is damaging herself.  She is causing herself pain, injury, likely scarring, and possible infection… or of course worse.  The most important thing she has to do is to stop it, now.

As I said before, Cutting is not something happy centered people do.  It is a cry for help, a sign of something awful going on inside them.  And you’ve done absolutely the right thing by responding to that cry by contacting me.

The next thing to do, though, is harder.  She has to talk with someone about this.  It would, of course, be best if you could get her to reach out to someone herself – a counselor at school, a therapist, a doctor – but if she won’t do it, I really strongly encourage you to do it for her.  If you don’t know who to talk to about it, you could go to someone at your school and tell them that you need to talk to someone confidentially about something a friend of yours is going through, and they should have someone to recommend to you.  If even that doesn’t work, write me back and tell me what area you live in (I won’t post it on the website), and I’ll see if I can find any referrals for her there.


Bielieber27, I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that your doing this could very likely save your friend’s life.

You’re a great friend.  Keep it up.





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