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Is it normal to feel the urges to self-harm after you've stopped for months?

40 Answers
Last Updated: 12/27/2021 at 1:06am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Lindsay Scheinerman, MA, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

My work with clients is to help them recognize and build on their strengths to find solutions for the conflicts presented in their lives.

Top Rated Answers
May 27th, 2015 7:37pm
Yes, very. But it's important to remember how strong you are and how you don't need to harm yourself. And if even you do relapse, remember it's part of the recovery. You are always stronger than your urges.
September 8th, 2015 7:26am
The brain can become addicted to the endorphin rush that comes as a result of self inflicted pain. It is totally normal to feel the urge. The great thing is, you are aware of the urge - it is in your conscious mind, so you can find ways to deal with it. Consider this an excellent step on your path to healing and getting better. You've stopped for months (YAY!), AND you can identify the urge (AWESOME!). These are all good things.
December 21st, 2015 6:02am
Yes. This is normal. It's called a relapse. Your body is somewhat used to that pain and it in a way needs it to live. But it really doesn't. It usually take a year to a year and a half to not feel the urges anymore.
June 22nd, 2016 10:21pm
Yes, it definitely is. Even after many many months without harming myself, I still felt the urge to self-harm sometimes. For me, it helped a lot to be aware that those urges occur from time to time and to think of coping strategies beforehand, just to be prepared. It's also a good idea to keep an eye on what triggers these urges and think of how you can maybe handle them better next time. Maybe you also wanna talk about it to someone or just write it down? And - very important - it's not a shame to relapse. Everyone who ever struggled with self harm knows how hard it is to quit. You already made it for a very long time and you're gonna make it again, don't grow desperate on those throwbacks - they're part of the recovering process.
April 24th, 2015 7:39am
It's completely normal! The urge is just you missing the feeling you got when you self-harmed. It's important to stay strong though and resist that urge. It's not worth it to go back to that kind of habit.
September 22nd, 2015 11:17pm
Yes. Self harm urges may not go away. It's a fall back strategy that you've gotten used to using as a way of coping with some sort of negative emotion. Remember that it will pass and that you've gotten so far in the months that you haven't self harmed, and you can make it more time. Find something that you can do that has worked in the past to stop you from acting on your urges. Reflect on what is making you feel this way, and try to find an alternate solution to the problem.
April 24th, 2015 2:13am
Yes, there has to be rain before there can be a rainbow. I promise, it's normal. If it weren't normal you wouldn't of had the problem to begin with darling.
May 8th, 2015 1:56am
Yes, it's normal, but you have to find ways to distract yourself to stop the urge. Why would you want to break your record? Keep going and soon you won't even think about it!
July 25th, 2016 8:37am
You've used self-harm as a coping method and it may have temporarily helped you in the past. Human beings are naturally animals of habit. The reason you may have the urge to self-harm is because you feel that self-harming helped you in the past to deal with emotional trauma and you are tempted to repeat the act as it worked before. BUT, please speak to a listener and don't hurt yourself.
August 17th, 2015 9:49am
Yes. I think so. I still feel that sometimes way even after years. But, it does get easier to control the urges and urges get less frequent as well.
July 24th, 2017 6:25am
Absolutely. Self-harm is addictive and the neural pathway is incredibly strong. I can be going about my business without giving it a second thought for months, and suddenly I'm facing urges just as strong as when I was at my worst. In my experience, time has decreased the frequency of the urges, but the intensity can still be high. However, repeatedly fighting back has also made me better at dealing with them when they arise. I know it can feel incredibly disheartening when you face those same dilemmas after months of work. I just want to offer you hope and strength as you work through them. It's not going to be easy, but it will get easier.
November 20th, 2017 7:22am
I think any person who's recovering from an addictive issue will always have moments of temptation due to the stresses they experience in life. Rather than use the word "normal", I'd be more inclined to say it's probably to be expected, and that most people in a similar situation would experience similar points of temptation.
January 30th, 2018 10:31pm
I have experienced this myself, I think because you haven't done it in a while you feel curious about the way it feels again and think about how and why it helped so you try again out of curiosity.
May 24th, 2015 3:24pm
Yes, it is completely normal. Good to hear you've gone months without it though! I think I have been clean for around a year plus 6 months and it took months just for the urges to go away. Self harm is addictive, it takes a while to finally break through the bonds and feel free again, but it is definitely possible! Stay strong! I wish you all the best in staying clean you lovely human
June 17th, 2015 1:32pm
It is normal but you have to reject you levarle From the mind because you 've exceeded struggling and will continue to fight for rate so That It does not return
October 6th, 2015 1:36am
Yes - often these urges get very strong after being deprived from it for a while - the months after stopping can often be harder than the first few weeks. It's important to seek help during this time and have long term treatment.
November 24th, 2015 1:23am
Yes. However it is important to remember that you are worth so much and it isnt worth harming your body
December 22nd, 2015 7:07am
Yes, it is very normal to feel the urges of self harm because when you harm your self you release dopamine. Unfortunately, this is the pleasure center of the brain, and you can become psychologically addicted to the pain and then pleasure, then shame circle. It is best to get help as soon as you notice this taking place, as there are healthier coping mechanisms to revert to instead.
February 22nd, 2016 7:25pm
Yes. At least in my experience it is. I haven't felt the need to cut myself for at least 6 months and I thought I was okay, but just two weeks ago I felt so stressed and worn down and frustrated that all I wanted was cut myself or bruise myself somehow. I just wanted relief all this tension that has been building up I urged for some kind of edge on my skin some kind of self inflicted pain. I guess old habits just die slowly. However I didn't give in, knowing I was doing well and it'd be a shame to start again after not harming myself for so long. So I just showered and went to bed before I could change my mind.
June 13th, 2017 7:10pm
Yes. It's normal to feel urges even after you have stopped. Just try to remind yourself why you stopped in the first place, and the urge will pass.
March 7th, 2015 9:38am
Yes, it is possible especially you saw or heard something that triggers you. Maybe seeing a picture of someone who self harmed etc
March 13th, 2015 6:27pm
I think it's based on the situation you are in. Based on my personal experience, I used to self harm and I stopped. Months after I got caught in a situation where I felt desperate and I wanted to self-harm again but I honestly fought it. STAY STRONG
May 27th, 2015 11:23pm
I believe it is. Once you start it's very hard to stop. Some situations are easier to cope with so cutting isn't a first resort. From my experience, I went months without cutting and didn't think twice about it and then started again. But during the time you've stopped, it's important to fight the urges.
June 7th, 2015 4:00am
completely normal. that's just a part of recovering, changing old habits, that's just how recovery works
June 23rd, 2015 7:48am
Everything is normal, there is nothing abnormal about human behaviour. You just need to know where to draw a line. Thats most important. And you need to remember that this thing, make you hate your own body at some point, your own flesh and meat, and from that point if you still continue to do something its your own choice.. But remember, no matter what you do, everything is normal.
August 17th, 2015 1:41am
It's not easy to stop just like that...It takes time...I know it's really tempting but do you think that it's worth it ? Do you actually know what can you do to yourself if you cut yourself with something dirty ? You can seriously damage your body and even die...
August 24th, 2015 8:51pm
Yes, it's perfectly okay. I'm proud that you have lasted this long without self-harming. I'm proud of you.
September 7th, 2015 10:31pm
Yes. it's completely normal. The important thing is that you don't give into the urges and you talk to someone or do something that will take your mind off the urge.
October 6th, 2015 12:08pm
no? i wouldn't think so? it would be totally understandable if something you feel has changed suddenly or something around you is upsetting you.. making you feel uncomfortable?
November 9th, 2015 4:53am
Of course it is! It was once a habit and it takes time to break habits. Just remember you are stronger than self harm :)