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  1. #1

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    Or something else?

    Just wondering.

  2. #2

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    Certainly seems like it:

    Those who engage in self-harm face the contradicting reality of harming themselves while at the same time feeling a relief from this act. This feeling of relief comes from the beta endorphins released in the brain (the same chemicals responsible for the "runner's high"). These act to reduce tension and emotional distress and may lead to a feeling of calm.

    As a coping mechanism, self-injury can become mentally addictive because, to the self-injurer, it works; it enables him/her to deal with intense stress in the current moment. Therapy for self-harmers only works when it is focused on finding alternative coping methods before the person is encouraged to give up the self-harm behavior. Instead of tackling the behavior itself, therapy and treatment concentrate on the underlying causes of the stress that is provoking the need for release.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-harm
    I would think that suicidal thinking and/or gesturing could be addictive too as a coping mechanism, though maybe not in a clinical sense in which the reward center of the brain is highly involved.

    As a side note, what isn't considered an addiction nowadays? I just watched the documentary film "Super Size Me" yesterday. It argues that the food at McDonalds is addictive because of all the salt, sugar, and fat and because the guy who ate nothing but McDonalds for 1 month felt addicted to it after a few weeks.
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  3. #3

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    "As a side note, what isn't considered an addiction nowadays?"

    Yes, I guess that's true.

    For me I think it's a weakness of some kind. Instead of dealing with real life, I do this. Maybe it's easier? There's not much motivation to stop.

  4. #4

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    I think there is a difference between an "addiction" and a "compulsion" but the way the word "addiction" is used these days it has become rather imprecise.

    However, it's not about "weakness" or "strength", Janet -- any more than depression or panic disorder or PTSD or schizophrenia is about "weakness".

  5. #5

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    I wondered that too, Janet.

    If it is more of a compulsion, does medication help? Can you replace pleasurable or calming events for the cutting or burning events. Doing a manicure, meditation, photography or journaling? Can you distinguish what takes place just before you cut or burn?

    I found these definitions of differences between compulsions and addictions:

    Chemical addiction may be more clear-cut, but many of the behaviours associated with both addiction and compulsion are the same. It is sometimes said that the difference between addiction and compulsion is that an addiction carries with it a euphoric component that a compulsion lacks.
    Editorial - Addiction and compulsion by Richard Reece
    http://www.biochemist.org/bio/editor...ISSUE=5&PAGE=1

    What is the difference between a compulsion and an addiction?

    Dear Reader,
    The distinction between a compulsion and an addiction is a fine one because the terms are sometimes misused and also because the medical profession's conception of each changes as new research becomes available. Addiction and compulsion each have biological/genetic and psychological components and each involves a perceived lack of control by the individual facing them. However, there are some key differences to keep in mind when using these terms.

    A compulsion is a repetitive, ritualistic behavior that a person performs without rational motivation. Compulsions offer temporary relief from anxiety — in turn, the need to reduce this anxiety is what drives the compulsive behavior. Sometimes this anxiety takes the form of obsessive thoughts related to the compulsive behavior (i.e., fear of germs and hand-washing), but often the compulsive behavior has no clear relation to anything in particular (the need to walk all the way around one's car clockwise before getting in).

    Addictions, similar to compulsions, can offer relief from stress or anxiety, but are characterized primarily by an inability to discontinue a harmful behavior despite its negative consequences. Common addictions include unhealthy and repeated (over)use of alcohol, drugs, gambling, smoking, or sex. Addictions are easily formed to behaviors that provide physical or psychological pleasure, or relief from pain. (It is also worth noting that the psychiatric community no longer uses the term "addiction" for unhealthy patterns of substance abuse; they now prefer the term "dependency.")

    Many people exhibit habitual behavior, but compulsions and addictions refer to those instances where these behaviors disrupt an individual's ability to function. In fact, compulsions and addictions can be debilitating or become destructive if untreated, for the individual and/or her/his family, friends, and others. Individuals dealing with compulsion or addiction need to seek evaluation from a medical or mental health professional who can recommend behavioral therapy, medication, and/or group-run recovery programs to help restore a sense of control over their behavior.
    http://www.goaskalice.columbia.edu/2947.html

  6. #6

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by HeartArt
    If it is more of a compulsion, does medication help? Can you replace pleasurable or calming events for the cutting or burning events. Doing a manicure, meditation, photography or journaling? Can you distinguish what takes place just before you cut or burn?
    It's the "leading up to" part that's the most important to come to terms with. If you can track your mood, you can do something about it before all hell breaks loose and you cut. The trick is to intervene ahead of time and do something healthy instead. It takes a lot of insight.

  7. #7

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    deleted because iwhat i wrote didn't make any sense. lol

  8. #8

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    deleted because it's just too messed up

  9. #9

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    Change what you can and try to accept what you can't. You won't wake up one day and be what you would consider "perfect". You will always have issues and problems. But you have to work on what you can work on. Baby steps.

  10. #10

    Is self-injury considered an addiction?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ash
    Change what you can and try to accept what you can't. You won't wake up one day and be what you would consider "perfect". You will always have issues and problems. But you have to work on what you can work on. Baby steps.
    I guess I just feel overwhelmed right now, but I do realize that you're right.

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