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Question
Posted by: Joey | 2006/10/28

Friend cutting himself

Hi Cybershrink
I have a friend that I worry about. He says that he starts off feeling depressed, has no emotions and have thoughts of oblivion. He's not too keen to seek help as the first time he went he was told that his depression is either the result of abuse at home/work (he has experienced neither), or else a chemical imbalance in his brain. He's 27yrs old and says that he's felt like that most of his life. He resorts to cutting himself or using electricity to inflict pain on himself in order to feel. Why does he do that, where can he seek help (he doesn't earn much and has no medical aid), how can I as a friend assist him ? He's my best friend and care very about him. Please advise.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sounds like your friend was badly handled the first time he saw an apparently badly informed and badly trained shrink --- depression has NOTHING to do with prior abuse, and telling someone they have been abused in such a situation is appallingly bad practice. Yes, depression is believed to involve a chemical imbalance in the brain, and this is the rationale for using current antidepressant drugs --- but it also responds very well specifically to a variety of counselling / therapy called CBT. If you check the archives of this forum, we have discussed self-mutilation or self-cutting quite often. It is a significant sign of disturbance which does deserve proper assessment and treatment. If he has no medical aid, he may want to check out what services are available through his nearest Medical School's dept of psyshiatry or psychology, and at his nearest major state hospital. Having been this way for as long as he seems to remember is unfortunate, but it's no reason to forego useful treatment or to avoid changing fruitfully

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Our users say:
Posted by: Momof3 | 2006/10/28

Hi Joey.Perhaps you could also go to counselling ,not with him but so that you know how to help him.I am sure he appreciates you being there and wanting to help or understand what he is going though.CBT is Cogitive Behaviour Therapy.It must be very difficult for him if he feels the need to cut or electrcute himself to feel something.Please help him to find a therapist as soon as possible.

Reply to Momof3

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