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emotional state

Cutting – An Actual Mental Disorder

Non-Suicidal Self-Injury

A lot of people are shocked and horrified at the thought of self-mutilation and for many years “cutting” was categorized only as a symptom of Borderline Personality DisorderBPD, as you may know, has symptoms of unstable personal relationships, impulsivity, and extreme mood changes (different from Bipolar disorder as they can change on a dime and swing wildly).

The new issue of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition or DSM-5, includes it as a separate diagnosis of Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI).  Research has suggested that NSSI can occur independently of BPD but is also often a co-existing or co-morbid illness, occurring alongside BPD, Bipolar Disorder, one of the many anxiety disorders or with other disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.

Cutting DisorderI am the mother of pre-adolescent children – who are beginning to believe they know all about people who act “weird” or do “weird” things (their words, not mine).  My daughter has recently talked about the “EMO” kids – which as a dumb mom, I had to figure out was a social group of kids who were “emotionally dark.”  She includes in her description of an “EMO” as “you know, like kids who are cutters.”  It is stereotypical to think that they all wear black clothing and heavy eyeliner – as some may – but many do not.

Some people who have the disorder would never be suspected of such – but then we are also sometimes surprised when someone who seems to have everything commits suicide, only to find that under the polished exterior was extreme anguish.  Often, cutting will be dismissed as a “stage” and it may be a “stage” – but often it is not.  Many patients – have arms or hips full of patterned scars – proving that it is often a condition all to itself.

Cutting Disorder - Mental IllnessSelf-mutilation most often starts in the early teen years when adolescent emotions are at their height – but often extends well into adulthood.  The majority of “cutters” are female – but not all.  There is often a co-existing mental illness and may have a family history component – but also often occurs following events of abuse – including sexual, physical or emotional abuse.  Sudden life changes such as unemployment or divorce – and isolation may trigger an occurrence.

People who “cut” often express a desire to “feel” as if they cannot truly attach to their own emotions.  Others will say they “cut” to kill the pain – this is because the act of producing pain also causes the body to release endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) that makes them feel better.  Unfortunately, even though the action may induce temporary euphoria – it is often followed by guilt and a return of the negative feelings.

NSSI is defined as:

• 5 or more days of intentional self-inflicted damage to the surface of the body without suicidal intent – in the past year.
Patients must be intending to:
o Seek relief from negative feelings or thoughts and/or
o Resolve interpersonal problems and/or
o Induce a positive emotional state
• The behavior must be associated with 1 of:
o Interpersonal problems
o Negative thoughts or feelings
o Premeditation
o Ruminating on injury (obsession)

NSSI includes not only “cutting” but also burning, hitting or punching, head banging, biting, non-aesthetic piercing or carving of skin (tattoos and body piercing don’t apply), pulling out hair or other “topical” mutilation.  If a patient has expressed suicidal thoughts or shows suicidal tendencies – it is not classified as NSSI as the intent of a person with NSSI is not to commit suicide.
NSSI should be first viewed as a serious medical condition that truly requires treatment.  It may be resolved by treating an existing co-morbid psychiatric condition – but likely it will also require psychotherapy to resolve some of the underlying issues.

Definition of Self-injury/cutting (Mayo Clinic)

Cutting and Self-Harm: Warning Signs and Treatment (WebMD)

If you see signs of NSSI or “cutting” in a child, teen, or adult that you know – encourage them to seek help.

Melissa Lind (WriterMelle)

An Actual Mental Disorder – Cutting

Vitamins for Your Mental Health

Vitamins help you body in a number of different ways.

First published on http://bipolarmentalhealth.com

Many people do not realize that vitamins are also crucial for helping the health of your mind. Depression is one of the many mental illnesses that can really help to ruin a person’s life if left untreated. If you are hoping to deal with your depression in a way that is healthy to your body but does not include the use of drugs, you might want to gain a better understand of just how vitamins can work for your depression.

Vitamin supplements can help you fight your depression.

Norwegian Salmon - Vitamin B12 FoodFirst and foremost, study the B vitamins.

B-complex vitamins are essential to your well-being, including your mental and emotional health. They are water-soluble, which means that they cannot be stored in the body over time to be used at a later date, and so you must eat foods rich in B vitamins every day or take vitamin supplements.

B-vitamins that could cause or add to your depression, include thiamin, which provides energy to your brain, and pantothenic acid, which is crucial in the formation of certain hormones that suppress depression.

Most other B vitamins affect your mental and emotional state as well, and because they are broken down in the body by alcohol and sugar, many people find it a struggle to eat enough food rich in the B vitamins. You should talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements in these areas in order to treat your depression.

Vitamin C is also extremely important in the fight against depression.

Normal levels are usually easy to achieve in the body, but you might find that you need a boost from vitamin supplements if you have recently had surgery or an inflammatory illness. Lack of vitamin C is common if you are stressed or pregnant, so be particularly observant of your depression during these times of life.

A variety of minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and zinc can also help you to fight your depression. The bottom line is that it is important for you to talk to a doctor if you believe that you are depressed.

Vitamin supplements and medical care can help you to fight depression in many cases. You doctor will be able to recommend brands that are of high quality and instruct you on how to take the vitamin supplements so that your body can get all of the nutrients it needs to stay happy and healthy, both physically and mentally.