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Study: 1 in 5 students practice self-injury

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Study: 1 in 5 students practice self-injury

Postby chadlincoln » Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:50 am

Is this a huge problem where you are at? Seems like it is growing more and more.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/parentin ... index.html

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Nearly 1 in 5 students at two Ivy League schools say they have purposely injured themselves by cutting, burning or other methods, a disturbing phenomenon that psychologists say they are hearing about more often.

For some young people, self-abuse is an extreme coping mechanism that seems to help relieve stress; for others it's a way to make deep emotional wounds more visible.

The results of the survey at Cornell and Princeton are similar to other estimates on this frightening behavior. Counselors say it's happening at colleges, high schools and middle schools across the country.

Separate research found more than 400 Web sites devoted to subject, including many that glorify self-injury. Some worry that many sites serve as an online subculture that fuels the behavior -- although whether there has been an increase in the practice or just more awareness is unclear.

Sarah Rodey, 20, a University of Illinois student who started cutting herself at age 16, said some online sites help socially isolated kids feel like they belong. One of her favorites includes graphic photographs that the site warns might be "triggering."

"I saw myself in some of those pictures, in the poems. And because I saw myself there, I wanted to connect to it better" by self-injuring, Rodey said.

The Web sites, recent books and media coverage are pulling back the curtain on the secretive practice and helping researchers better understand why some as young as grade-schoolers do it.

"You're trying to get people to know that you're hurting, and at the same time, it pushes them away" because the behavior is so distressing, said Rodey, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

The latest prevalence estimate comes from an analysis of responses from 2,875 randomly selected male and female undergraduates and graduate students at Cornell and Princeton who completed an Internet-based mental health survey.

Seventeen percent said they had purposely injured themselves; among those, 70 percent had done so multiple times. The estimate is comparable to previous reports on U.S. adolescents and young adults, but slightly higher than studies of high school students in Australia and the United Kingdom.

The study appears in this month's issue of Pediatrics, released Monday. Cornell psychologist Janis Whitlock, the study's main author, also led the Web site research, published in April in Developmental Psychology.

Among the Ivy League students who harmed themselves, about half said they'd experienced sexual, emotional or physical abuse that researchers think can trigger self-abuse.

Repeat self-abusers were more likely than non-injurers to be female and to have had eating disorders or suicidal tendencies, although self-injuring is usually not considered a suicide attempt.

Greg Eels, director of counseling and psychological services at Cornell, said the study's findings are not surprising. "We see it frequently and it seems to be an increasing phenomenon."

While Eels said the competitive, stressful college environment may be particularly intense at Ivy League schools, he thinks the results reflect a national problem.

Dr. Daniel Silverman, a study co-author and Princeton's director of health services, said the study has raised consciousness among his staff, who are now encouraged to routinely ask about self-abuse when faced with students "in acute distress."

"Unless we start talking about it and making it more acceptable for people to come forward, it will remain hidden," Silverman said.

Some self-injurers have no diagnosable illness but have not learned effective ways to cope with life stresses, said Victoria White Kress, an associate professor at Youngstown State University in Ohio. She consults with high schools and says demand for her services has risen in recent years.

Psychologists who work with middle and high schools "are overwhelmed with referrals for these kids," said psychologist Richard Lieberman, who coordinates a suicide prevention program for Los Angeles public schools.

He said one school recently reported several fourth-graders with burns on their arms, and another seeking help for "15 hysterical seventh-grade girls in the office and they all have cuts on their arms."

In those situations, Lieberman said there's usually one instigator whose behavior is copied by sympathetic but probably less troubled friends.

Rodey, a college sophomore, said cutting became part of her daily high school routine.

"It was part of waking up, getting dressed, the last look in the mirror and then the cut on the wrist. It got to be where I couldn't have a perfect day without it," Rodey said.

"If I was apprehensive about going to school, or I wasn't feeling great, I did that and I'd get a little rush," she said.

Whitlock is among researchers who believe that "rush" is feel-good hormones called endorphins produced in response to pain. But it is often followed by deep shame and the injuries sometimes require medical treatment.

Vicki Duffy, 37, runs a Morris County, New Jersey, support group and said when she was in her 20s, she had skin graft surgery on her arms after burning herself with cigarettes and a fire-starter. After psychological and drug treatment, she stopped the behavior 10 years ago.

Author of the 2004 book "No More Pain: Breaking the Silence of Self-Injury," Duffy recalled being stopped on the street by a 70-year-old woman who saw her scarred arms and said, "'I used to do that."'

Rodey said she stopped several months ago with the help of S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives treatment program at a suburban Chicago hospital. Treatment includes behavior therapy and keeping a written log to track what triggers the behavior.

Rodey said she feels "healed" but not cured "because it's something I will struggle with the rest of my life. Whenever I get really stressed out, that's the first thing I think about."
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:55 am

Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.
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Postby chadlincoln » Tue Jun 06, 2006 10:58 am

Omaha Red Sox wrote:Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.
I don't think it has to do with them not contributing. After reading the article and some books on this topic, it's more about issues like control and expressing hurt. This happens amoung jr. high students around here. It spreads by word of mouth. They find out someone else tries it so they do. I can't imagine cutting myself to make myself feel better, but if you listen to the Emimen song "Stan", even he writes "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds. It's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me." They need help, but I don't think it's all touchy-feely-tree hugging stuff.
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Postby acsguitar » Tue Jun 06, 2006 11:07 am

Omaha Red Sox wrote:Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.


You know depression/anxiety is an actual physical chemical imbalance I think you are way out of line here.
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Postby mrider » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:11 pm

acsguitar wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.


You know depression/anxiety is an actual physical chemical imbalance I think you are way out of line here.


I agree, I know a guy who goes to my school who does that. Its sad but people who cut themselvs are disgusting like scabs are dirty enough but doing like "x" patterns on purpose is so weird.
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:17 pm

chadlincoln wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.
I don't think it has to do with them not contributing. After reading the article and some books on this topic, it's more about issues like control and expressing hurt. This happens amoung jr. high students around here. It spreads by word of mouth. They find out someone else tries it so they do. I can't imagine cutting myself to make myself feel better, but if you listen to the Emimen song "Stan", even he writes "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds. It's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me." They need help, but I don't think it's all touchy-feely-tree hugging stuff.


My point is, is that people are so focussed on themselves and how they feel all the time. That's psycho-babble. I understand that there are people that can realistically be considered 'depressed', but don't you think that the word is tossed around a bit much? If kids had some self-worth I would imagine they would find more constructive things to do than cut themselves.
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Postby acsguitar » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:26 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:
chadlincoln wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:Stupid psycho-babble. People so consumed with themselves and their damn feelings. Contribute to society, you pieces of crap, and you'll feel like you belong somewhere. Man this pisses me off.
I don't think it has to do with them not contributing. After reading the article and some books on this topic, it's more about issues like control and expressing hurt. This happens amoung jr. high students around here. It spreads by word of mouth. They find out someone else tries it so they do. I can't imagine cutting myself to make myself feel better, but if you listen to the Emimen song "Stan", even he writes "Sometimes I even cut myself to see how much it bleeds. It's like adrenaline, the pain is such a sudden rush for me." They need help, but I don't think it's all touchy-feely-tree hugging stuff.


My point is, is that people are so focussed on themselves and how they feel all the time. That's psycho-babble. I understand that there are people that can realistically be considered 'depressed', but don't you think that the word is tossed around a bit much? If kids had some self-worth I would imagine they would find more constructive things to do than cut themselves.


Well for alot of people they need Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to get over some things.

The thing with cutting that psychologist seem to agree on is that when a person is depressed/disillusioned the cutting act makes them feel something.

The problem is not that these kids are sad. They are much further beyond that. Being sad and depressed is one thing. Becoming so depressed that feeling of any kind illudes you is another.

The cutting is a way for these people to feel again. Almost to prove to themselves that they are still alive. That is why its not considered a suicidal tendency.

Anyways its a serious problem definitly and needs to be delt with. I agree that these kids need to get out and do something. The problem with our current society is that so much is based on physical appearance that doing things or bettering yourself takes a back seat to looks and being cool rather then being whole as a person.

Yes these kids need to get out and be a part of something. The problem is that sometimes they are in too deep and pulling yourself out of a whole is way harder then falling into it.
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:34 pm

acsguitar wrote:Becoming so depressed that feeling of any kind illudes you is another.

The cutting is a way for these people to feel again. Almost to prove to themselves that they are still alive.


That's the point I was trying to make. So many kids are brought up by parents focussed on their own feelings and focussed on the feelings of their kids, instead of teaching them how to cope with life in general. Instead of being relatively responsible, they focus on how they are feeling. And when your complete focus becomes how you currently feel, yeah, you're going to be depressed most of the time.
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Postby acsguitar » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:45 pm

Omaha Red Sox wrote:
acsguitar wrote:Becoming so depressed that feeling of any kind illudes you is another.

The cutting is a way for these people to feel again. Almost to prove to themselves that they are still alive.


That's the point I was trying to make. So many kids are brought up by parents focussed on their own feelings and focussed on the feelings of their kids, instead of teaching them how to cope with life in general. Instead of being relatively responsible, they focus on how they are feeling. And when your complete focus becomes how you currently feel, yeah, you're going to be depressed most of the time.


Ah i see what you are saying...I don't think thats the only reason by any means but i understand.

Rather then teaching coping mechanisms they are taught over analyzation of themselves.

Makes more sense now although I don't think we can blame all of the issues on that but i'm sure it is a cause
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Postby Omaha Red Sox » Tue Jun 06, 2006 12:49 pm

acsguitar wrote:
Omaha Red Sox wrote:
acsguitar wrote:Becoming so depressed that feeling of any kind illudes you is another.

The cutting is a way for these people to feel again. Almost to prove to themselves that they are still alive.


That's the point I was trying to make. So many kids are brought up by parents focussed on their own feelings and focussed on the feelings of their kids, instead of teaching them how to cope with life in general. Instead of being relatively responsible, they focus on how they are feeling. And when your complete focus becomes how you currently feel, yeah, you're going to be depressed most of the time.


Ah i see what you are saying...I don't think thats the only reason by any means but i understand.

Rather then teaching coping mechanisms they are taught over analyzation of themselves.

Makes more sense now although I don't think we can blame all of the issues on that but i'm sure it is a cause


Very well put there acs. Yeah, I'm not suggesting it's just one issue that causing the overanalyzation of one's self, just singling out one possible explanation.
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