A 34-year-old member asked:
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is cutting a sign of a true suicide attempt or just a gesture?

4 doctor answers
Dr. Vasu Brown
33 years experience Integrative Medicine
Gesture for help: Cutting is a gesture for desperate help and also releases endorphins in brain and associated stress - in holistic medicine we bury sadness at the level of lymphatics and that is the reason tissue weeps in lymphedema.
Answered on Dec 9, 2014
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Dr. Glen Elliott
42 years experience Child Psychiatry
Depends: Although the majority of self-cutting is not intended to be fatal, I have had patients to deliberately try to open an artery with the intent of dying. One concern with wrist-cutting is that teens may not be aware how many tendons are just under the skin that can be severed if they cut cross-wise. Usually, though, wrist cutting is quite superficial and, as dr. Brown indicated, a cry for help.
Answered on Apr 16, 2016
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Dr. William Holmes
33 years experience Child Psychiatry
It Varies: Some people who cut do so with the desire or wish to die. More often, they are not really trying to kill themselves, but are looking for a way to cope with and express overwhelming feelings of distress and turmoil.
Answered on Oct 3, 2016
Dr. Andrew Berry
13 years experience Clinical Psychology
Cutting: It depends on the person, the seriousness of the cutting, how long it's been going on, what emotional issues the person is facing, and a myriad of related issues. There is no one answer. I always open up the discussion with asking them what cutting means to them? I tell them: "Look, you're doing this for a reason, obviously, and I'm just wondering what the reason is?"
Answered on Mar 3, 2015

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