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I Sometimes Cut

Question:

I’m struggling with Anorexia and depression. I sometimes cut when I get overly depressed or become stressed to an overwhelming state. What should I do?

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  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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Answer:

Eating disorders such as anorexia are potentially life-threatening conditions, and depression can be lethal too (when it pushes people towards suicide). While most of the time, cutting is not intended as a suicidal gesture, people sometimes miscalculate and do end up killing themselves. For all of these reasons, plus the simple reason that you are probably miserable and stuck in a negative place, I hope that you will do all you can to get appropriate professional medical and mental health care. Make an appointment to see a psychiatrist (a specialist medical doctor who treats mental health conditions) as a first step. If you can’t do that, you should be seen by a medical doctor, at any rate, because it is important that your physical health be assessed and any issues found be treated. Eating disorders can play havoc with your body’s systems. A medical doctor can also address your depression, thorough the use of antidepressant medications. You should also seek out an appointment with an experienced psychotherapist too, because psychotherapy will be able to offer you additional important assistance in coping with your pain. Most medical doctors will be able to recommend local specialists, if you don’t know of one already. One form of psychotherapy in particular, known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, would be worth asking about. This is a therapy designed for people who self-harm. It respectfully addresses the issues that cause people to choose to harm themselves, and also teaches more positive ways of managing overwhelming emotion. Professional assistance of this sort can be expensive, but if you are truly dealing with the conditions you’ve described, it will be the only practical way for you to gain access to the help you need. Please do make and keep these appointments.

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