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Friday, May 16, 2008

Self-injury 'support' online

This is an example of how at-risk teen behavior can get the wrong kind of reinforcement online, but the Internet can also be a means of earlier detection - if parents and friends find out where on the Net a teen is getting that reinforcement. Experts say increasing numbers of teens are discussing self-injury on the Web and forming "cutting clubs" at school. The trend is "prompting many to try it who might not otherwise have known about it," the New York Times reports. "There are no exact numbers for this largely hidden problem, but anonymous surveys among college students suggest that 17% of them have self-injured, and experts estimate that self-injury is practiced by 15% of the general adolescent population." The behavior is a way of turning emotional pain on oneself and can be addictive. "Experts theorize that it may be reinforced by the release in the brain of opioidlike endorphins that result in a natural high and emotional relief," according to the Times. The support or validation found in cutting groups online or at school can also help perpetuate self-injury. Please see the article for information on detection and treatment.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to self-injure and I want to say that for the most part this was a very accurate report. But you got one crucial thing wrong. These internet groups are not a way to encourage people to self-injure. They are a non judgmental place where people can go for help and support.In these groups people who self-injure can talk to people who understand what they're going through, instead of being isolated like they are in day to day life. It's groups like these that actually helped me stop self-injuring. Maybe you should take a look at one of these groups before making an uninformed statement.

9:57 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

Thanks for your comment. I hear you and would certainly consider your comment a correction. But could I ask one thing: Have you never met or heard of anyone engaged in cutting who was influenced to continue by other people self-injuring? In other words, from your experience, is that impetus always from within or one's own experience with no encouragement from outside or from other people? Tx again,
Anne

11:05 AM  

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