The Link between Cutting, Self-Injury and Eating Disorders

Studies show that people who engage in cutting and other forms of self-injury often do so in conjunction with, or as a replacement for, eating disorders. This is because eating disorders and self-injury serve the same purpose for these individuals: they help them cope with, block out, and release built up feelings and emotions. Patients who suffer from both of these psychological problems need specialized treatment from therapists who specialize in treating both disorders simultaneously. This is often done through a holistic approach that treats the mental, emotional and spiritual components of the individual’s disorder.

What is Self-Injury?

Self-injury (also called self-harm or self-mutilation) is the attempt to deliberately cause harm to one’s own body. The most common ways that people self-injure are cutting, burning, picking at skin or re-opening wounds, hair pulling, hitting, head banging, eyeball pressing, bone breaking, and biting. Self-injury can be an episodic behavior, meaning it occurs only periodically, or it can become a compulsive, addictive behavior.

What is an Eating Disorder?

An eating disorder is not an attempt to be vain or a choice to be thin; it is a mental illness that often piggybacks on other mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder, or can develop over time as a result of underlying issues that, if left untreated, can lead to complex medical and psychiatric symptoms.

The most common eating disorders are anorexia (starvation), bulimia (purging) and binge eating (compulsive overeating).

How is Self-Injury and Eating Disorders Related?

People who self-injure and have eating disorders share many of the same traits, including perfectionist personalities; a history of trauma, physical, emotional or sexual abuse; family issues; and feelings of self-loathing and low self-worth. Both self-injury and eating disorders are ways for these individuals to cope with these intense feelings of anger, shame, sadness, loneliness and guilt. They are also ways for these individuals to punish themselves and express self-hatred for their bodies.

For many, self-injury and eating disorders coexist. For others, self-injury can develop as a way to replace an eating disorder. For example if the person overcomes her eating disorder but doesn’t learn how to properly cope with her emotions, she may seek relief through other ways such as cutting and self-mutilation.

How to Treat Self-Injury and Eating Disorders

If you practice self-injury and/or have an eating disorder, you don’t after suffer in shame any longer. At Casa Palmera, we understand the unique issues you face and strive to treat the entire person, taking into consideration your life experiences, past trauma, personality, family, medical history and their nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. Our holistic approach helps to alleviate symptoms and enhance your resolution for recovery.

Our residential treatment program provides:

* Cognitive-behavioral therapy to help you recognize and address triggering feelings in healthier ways;

* Post-traumatic stress therapies if you have a history physical, emotional, or sexual abuse;

* Interpersonal therapy to address your underlying issues of low self-worth;

* Group therapy to encourage healthy expressions of emotion and to decrease your feelings of isolation and shame;

* Family therapy to address family issues and help family members learn to communicate without judgment;

* Nutritional education and counseling.

Call Casa Palmera today and start your journey to a healthier body, mind and spirit.