Our expert says:
WHY is less important than working with a good local shrink so as to be able to stop it. If you'll check out the archives of this Forum, you'll find we've discussed it quite often. It's far more common than people think. I think most shrinks dont recognize the extent to which people use it as a personal emergency source of relief ; and most cutters don't recognize the risks and potential long-term problems that arise, and the extent to which it is so brief in the relief sought from it, as to be undesirable where better alternatives can be available.
As BT describes, the Distraction technique is usually a handy and safe substitute. Drinking very cold water as she does, is an original and promising idea. Wearing an elastic band round the writst to SNAP for a sudden sharp shock of sensation can substitute --- a colour shock ( some people focus on the suddent appearance of the red blood ) --- is not to cut, but to slash some bright red water-soluble paint, maybe from a non-permanent magic marker, across the arm instead.
I've written text-book chapters on trying to understand the Why, but this is unimportant compared to the importance of changing the behavior to more fruitful and positive alternatives.
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