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How many cutters have some kind of disorder?


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In your guys' opinion, do most cutters, either short-term or long-term, have a co-morbid condition, such as mental or personality disorders? Clearly, plenty of people without any known conditions/disorders can cut, but are they the exception or the rule?

Not sure where depression would lie exactly. I'm asking more about other possible mood/mental/personality disorders, especially since depression frequently is co-morbid with those, too.

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Guest Vapourware

I'm not sure if I could say that "most" cutters have mental and/or personality disorders personally, but I wouldn't be surprised if a cutter had those issues. I see cutting as an externalisation of inner pain and distress and as a maladaptive coping strategy.

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I completely agree that it's a coping strategy, so there has to be something that you're coping with. That may or may not fit into the DSM (meaning that is is a definable mental illness/mood disorder). So although it's likely that there is a co-morbid condition, there doesn't have to be.

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One of the BPD criteria is:

5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

Which covers cutting.

You need (or are supposed) to fit more than one criteria to have the diagnosis. If that's the DSM, you need to fit four more, in fact. I think a lot of diagnosing doctors consider that the most important one though, and perhaps a chunk people get a BPD diagnosis based on that criteria alone. I think if someone cuts then something is rotten in the state of Denmark, but it could also just be a maladaptive coping mechanism for difficult life circumstances as opposed to MI.

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I don't know if it's safe to say that "most" self-harmers have a co-morbid condition, but there are clear connections drawn between SI and many disorders (including depression). Cutting, like any destructive coping mechanism, is a red flag, but it doesn't necessarily indicate a mental disorder; like Cuttlefish has suggested, it might be down to difficult life circumstances, a single depressive episode without recurrence, etc.

However, I would venture to guess that, among self-harmers, low self-esteem/self-belief, and trust issues, are very common.

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It does depend on the individual. I can only talk about my own experiences.

A few years ago, I used to cut. For me it was a symptom of my depression. But for me to actually cut, I had to have either thought control or psychotic symptoms on top of the depression. Since I came out of my depression (I only had the one episode), I have not cut at all.

But I cannot talk for anyone else.

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I don't think every person who self harms has a condition. Different people cut for different reasons, and one of the main ones is a coping mechanism (like already stated). For me, I only ever self harm as a result of command hallucinations which isn't what most people reasons to cut but it can happen.

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among self-harmers, low self-esteem/self-belief, and trust issues, are very common.

Oh hey! guess I do fit right in.

For me it's either just depression or agitation /anxiety / whatever those freakout things are that I do.

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Up until 4 years ago, I suffered with just depression for over a decade, but was never a self harmer. Then my 'symptoms' started to change, the meds stopped working, I was unable to deal with my extreme emotions etc. A year later I started SH, and when I eventually got referred to a pdoc, was diagnosed with BPD. I lived with depression for a long time as 'just depression' and never felt the need to SH from it. SH for me has only been recent, and again, mostly as a coping mechanism to deal with the symptoms of BPD.

Not sure how many SH would have a co-morbid dx, although I imagine quite a few. Depends how many have been psychiatrically assessed I suppose.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can imagine that someone without a MI might possibly self harm if they are in an extreme situation, where the situation caused them so much stress or anguish that their suffering was like someone with a MI who cuts. I don't think it counts as a MI if it is purely situational and dissipates after the situation is changed.

Even animals will so something similar to self harm under stress, for example I rescued a cat once who was extremely neglected and would lick himself and pull out his fur to the point where he would bleed. When out of that situation, he ceased the behavior and appeared mentally and emotionally healthy.

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  • 4 weeks later...

One can also look at a cutting dx as an addictive dx which could stand alone in its own right.

I think as understanding of cutting grows, it is becoming less and less lumped in with Bpd which I think is actually a good thing.

As far as I've seen, it's split right down the middle.

You could have cutting with an adjustment disorder, not a major psychiatric dx, with the cutting as a maladaptive strategy to the adjustment. Adj. dx really aren't a major psychiatric dx, just symptoms in response to a major life event. The problem with cutting as a strategy is that it rapidly spirals out of control into its own thing, which is way out of proportion to the initial stressor.....

I'd like to see cutting as its own dx code, personally. AFAIK, Borderline is going to get revised out of existence, which I don't really have a problem with, either.

I have seen it go right down the middle, for the most part.

anna

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One can also look at a cutting dx as an addictive dx which could stand alone in its own right.

I think as understanding of cutting grows, it is becoming less and less lumped in with Bpd which I think is actually a good thing.

As far as I've seen, it's split right down the middle.

You could have cutting with an adjustment disorder, not a major psychiatric dx, with the cutting as a maladaptive strategy to the adjustment. Adj. dx really aren't a major psychiatric dx, just symptoms in response to a major life event. The problem with cutting as a strategy is that it rapidly spirals out of control into its own thing, which is way out of proportion to the initial stressor.....

I'd like to see cutting as its own dx code, personally. AFAIK, Borderline is going to get revised out of existence, which I don't really have a problem with, either.

I have seen it go right down the middle, for the most part.

anna

I feel in agreement with this post. I was false dx with BPD 3 years ago. The only symptom of that I ever had was cutting, and I was cutting because I was trying to cope with a combination of depression, anxiety, psychosis, and thought control. I was lucky enough to be able to give up all together 2 years ago, yet it took me until last year to get rid of the wrong label.

I feel that false diagnosing someone not only has impact on the person (I was not offered the right treatment because of wrong dx), but when it is common (which, in my country at least, BPD is the label slapped on any non-typical presentation) it almost discredits those who really do have the disorder. Sort of 'you don't come across as BPD, so maybe everyone with BPD is a fake' - something I feel strongly against.

It would be good if they do something with the BPD diagnosis, to make sure it doesn't get automatically slapped on anyone with a non-typical presentation.

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