Posted by: Ladyjay | 2008/09/25

Dealing with cutting/depressed teen

Please help, my teen is cutting herself and is already on medication but she seems to be getting worse, they now want to put her into an institution, she doesn' t want to go I am at my wits end, her doc says she will commit suicide if we don' t watch her I am at my wits end, they have diagnosed depression but I think it is worse, maybe even bi-polar, what can I do?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

If you'll check the archives of this forum, you'll find I have discussed cutting behaviours quite ofen. It is very alarming behaviour which greatly disturbs other people, but isn't usually associated with dangerous suicide attempts, though of course this possibility also can't be ignored. I wonder whether the doctor you refer to was a specialist psychiatrist, who is who she needs to see for a full assessment. There needs to be a proper assessment. If Depression, or Bipolar Disorder is present and properly diagnosed, that in itself needs to be properly treated, which may require specific medications ; the cutting usually needs skilled psychotherapy, which the psychiatrist needs to arrange. In m experience, simply telling you to "watch her" without discussing what to watch for and how to handle any crises that might arise, isn't very useful.
I'm also not sure that "putting her in an institution" as such is always useful --- though in a crisis, admission to a psychiatric hospital ( so that there would be staff experienced in observation and handling such crises ) can be useful for a short while.
berni's comments match the results of some major research I did in this area some years back. She will be able to stop cutting when the therapist helps her to find alternative ways to handle the emotional crises she has been experiencing. She can get out of this unpleasant phase and move on to a happier and more constructive part of her life

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Our users say:
Posted by: no one | 2008/12/11

pls post a likk cybershrink on the info on cutting in the archives im new year and cant find it...

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Posted by: Jade | 2008/09/26

Hi ladyjay
I know what you' re going thru and the feeling is one of utter despair and helplessness. My daughter was cutting and had bulimia at 16, diagnosed with depression also. She told her therapist, that cutting, for her in particular, did not make her feel better, but was a way of physically hurting herself just as she felt the hurt(self hate) inside of her emotionally. It kind of acknowledged the worthlessness she felt, a kind of punishment. thats why its called self mutilation It rarely leads to suicide but like Berni has said, it is possible depending on her state of mind and its that very state of mind you should be concerned about because depression is something you cannot just snap out of.
My daughter was hospitalised at the end of Gr10, unable to write her final exams, moe for the bulimia but it was at a private clinic that has a psychiatric wing but is not labelled a psychiatric institution, At least there, she was monitored all the time, given her meals, group talk and was able to see both a psychiatrist and psychologist daily and when she left after just a week, she no longer cut or threw up. With continued out of hospital psychotherapy, she has learnt to overcome depression and build her self esteem
In the end, SHE wanted to help herself, with tons of love and positive support from us and thats the most important thing really, to let her know she isnt a ' problem child"  as my daughter used to call herself. Good luck and be strong.
Berni, you seem to be on the road to recovery, well done and I wish you everything of the best.
God Bless

Reply to Jade
Posted by: berni | 2008/09/25

Hi there i might not have the answer for you but i too have the same problem as your daughter except i have stopped cutting for about 5 days now and i wont lie its terrible i have had such withdrawl symptoms shaking shivering sweating you name it, we cut because it feels real i did try commit suicide and when someone found me in time i was so angry so i drove my car in the opposite side of the road and had a head on collision, still not dead although it may feel like it. when we see our own blood it makes us breath again we feel happy well i did i couldnt go a day without cutting i got stitches in my hand to prove it, try and get her to trust you she wont stop it until she feels safe and has a safety net to fall back on understand she will have bad days and she might try commit suicide but she probably wont do it seriously enough to die she juat wants to see the end of the road before she turns around. my mother gave up on me and tried to sue me dont do the same no matter how angry you might get with her, dont investigate her body that just makes ut worse, my number is 083 320 6508 if you wish to understand and get more information on the subject if you understand it you can help her, try get a book called the bright red scream it might help you, sms me if you want i' d be glad to message you back, i wouldnt risk putting my number up for no serious reason, it can be very dangerous even if you dont kill yourself a part of you will die, and thats the important part please HELP her...

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