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SI as an addiction?


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I used to SI, mainly cutting myself. Mostly I asked other people to hurt me, and it was an addiction for me. Does anyone else consider SI as an addictive behavior? That may just be the case for me, but not others. Just curious about others' experiences.

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Many people consider that it is a type of addiction - I think that the current research suggests that dopamine and/or endogenous opioids may be tied up in it, so it is certainly biologically plausible.

I don't know if I personally feel addicted to it - I certainly crave it, but not constantly, just when something sets me off, and I find that over time it tends to get more severe. On the other hand, I don't have any serious medical or social issues because of it and I can go long periods without really craving it or thinking about it as long as I'm not super stressed out. So I'm not sure.

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Yes, biologically, endorphins and adrenaline are released. Mentally, it's an escape from thinking about anything else but the pain.

It's good to know that it can be addictive-- I definitely was/am addicted, although I have not acted on my urges in months. The urges I get now are mostly just to punch something, like a wall or a mirror. But again, I haven't acted out. I think of the aftermath. I would be staring at my bruised or broken hand and feeling the pain long afterwards, so I abstain. I know it doesn't fix anything, and I would just feel even worse about myself for doing it.

I was very involved in BDSM for 15 years. Many people can have safe, sane, consensual interactions. For me, it was purely an addiction, a way to punish myself.

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I think it's very addictive. I know for me, it started at age 12 and escalated far beyond how I imagined it. There have been many times where I couldn't control it, was doing it several times a day despite wanting to stop. I've been SI free for a few months now, to my surprise, but I feel it lurking in the background, waiting to reemerge the second I stop forcing it away. It's a daily battle.

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I never experienced my self-harming as an addiction.

This sounds odd, but I experienced it as an intervention.

I only used it as a tool to interrupt intense flashbacks.

I felt very angry because I was misunderstood by several practitioner who weren't able to wrap their heads around the controlled way I was doing this. Its like they didn't have a frame of reference to look at it as anything other than an addiction.

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That is pretty DBT though, right? DBT tends to view self-harm as a solution to a problem and not an end in and of itself. I guess I sort of feel that way too - if I was self-harming constantly irrespective of the rest of my life, I might feel more addicted. But it really only seems to happen as a direct response to my environment, which I tend to see as an emotional dysregulation issue.

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I never experienced my self-harming as an addiction.

This sounds odd, but I experienced it as an intervention.

I only used it as a tool to interrupt intense flashbacks.

I felt very angry because I was misunderstood by several practitioner who weren't able to wrap their heads around the controlled way I was doing this. Its like they didn't have a frame of reference to look at it as anything other than an addiction.

Controlled SI? I suppose that makes sense. I always thought I was in control, too. But I never really was. If I had to do it, it was a way of controlling my own emotions, or entrusting someone else to control them. But I was purely unstable and in hindsight, not in control of anything.

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I think so, tryp.

I tend to view this as a strategy like self-medicating with other substances.

For me, when I had other effective tools to manage what was going on, the self harm stopped on its own without any intentional effort really on my part.

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I don't think SI is an addiction for me per se, but I did experience some cravings while I was trying to quit. I think it mimics an addiction because it quickly becomes your only method of coping and self soothing, making it hard to imagine living without it. Once healthier coping mechanisms were put in place, I found it easier to stop self harming.

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Like any other mal-adaptive behavior, I do believe the potential for addiction is there.

I cut myself from ages 9 - 14. With particularly bad abuse in 9th grade. I noticed that when I discovered drugs, my need to self harm became a lot less.

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Guest Vapourware

Personally, I see my SI as a form of addiction. Once I start SI then I find it hard to stop and it escalates.

I think the drive to SI is pretty personal, but one thing that seems to a common denominator for lots of people is the urge to escape emotional distress. I think there are parallels between that and the reason why a lot of people develop addictions to drugs, etc.

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I've been abused since I was 12, mentally, emotionally, physically, sexually. I thought I had a handle on it. When one man stopped hurting me, I would find another to take his place. I had fantasies of dying while being assaulted. I very well could have.

I always thought it was what I wanted, and who I was. Yes, it escalated. It started with a slap in the face, and that feeling of just letting go. I began to ask for knife play at the age of 15. I bear the scars of many men. I knew I wasn't safe, but it was addictive. When I was 17, I met my first true sadist. He manipulated me with drugs and alcohol, and groomed me further into being a slave. From one mans hands to another's, I was further brainwashed-- all the while thinking this was what I wanted. It ended when I moved in with a man I thought I loved just 3 years ago, and he was the one to break my spirit. I'd hit my bottom. I was highly involved in the fetish lifestyle and became a fetish model, notorious for being able to take an incredible amount of pain. I was... Proud of that. I was consumed by it. I always needed more, like a void that could never be filled. I had to change everything and everyone in my life to escape that lifestyle and my own temptations. It was a process.

And I look back now, and think, what happened? Why did I do this to myself? I see pictures of 'her' and don't even recognize myself.

But I am free now. I can just be myself, and I'm discovering every day a little more about who I really am. I think of that young girl being tortured, psychologically suffocated, and I feel...

Well, I wish someone could have saved her.

More than half of my life--most of my adolescent and adult years--I had lost myself completely. I can wonder all I want what happened to lead me down such a dark path, and I could wallow in self pity forever, but I'd rather just put it behind me. I see it as a rite of passage to being utterly elated about being alive, as a lesson to savor every moment that I am relatively healthy. I appreciate the little things, and I don't ask much of myself anymore. If I believed what I put myself through was all for naught, if I didn't believe that a higher power has a plan for me, I would give up. I would be living under the stairs in an abusive mans house, slowly dying.

But I'm not. I'm alive. I have family, I have friends. I have more to offer this world and the world in all it's abundance has more to offer me than I can even fathom.

This all may seem obscure, especially when SI is so commonly performed alone. But I consider my consent to be abused self injurious. I just found a different way to do it. I hope that this is at least somewhat relatable.

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Titania,

Thank you. I know you and I have similar histories, and I would hate for a little miscommunication to have come between us. I know you are only trying to help, and I really do respect that. Thank you for sympathizing with me, it means a lot.

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