Our expert says:
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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