The warning signs of self-harm addiction
An eating disorder; whether it be anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating is a control disorder and a form of self-harming. Typical eating disorder patterns and self-injury patterns carry similar traits:
· Perfectionist personalities
· History of trauma
· Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
· Family issues
· Feelings of self-loathing
· Low self-worth
Both self-injury and eating disorders are ways for people to cope with the uncomfortable 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 develops as a way to replace an eating disorder. For example if the person overcomes an eating disorder but doesn’t learn how to properly cope with emotions, they may seek relief through other ways such as cutting and self-mutilation.
· Cuts/burns on the wrists, arms, legs, back, hips, or stomach
· Wearing baggy, loose clothes repeatedly
· Makes excuses for having cuts, marks or wounds on the body
· Finding razors, scissors, lighters or knives in strange places (i.e., a purse, the bathroom.)
· Spending long periods locked in a bedroom or bathroom
· Isolation and avoiding social situations
Similar to an individual being suicidal, self-harm is a cry for help. People who self-harm may feel that there is no other outlet to express their emotional pain and cope with distress. People who self-harm don’t do it to seek attention; they actually do it to escape the struggles of their daily life. If you know someone who is engaging in self-injurious behavior reach out to him or her. Let him/her know you care through getting them the help they need.