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Is scratching until you bleed when you feel stressed considered self harm?

3 Answers
Last Updated: 08/26/2020 at 2:27pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Kajsa Futrell, RTC


I specialise in respectfully helping people navigate their way through trauma and relationship issues. The adversities in our life can actually transform us.

Top Rated Answers
August 22nd, 2020 3:16pm
Yes, hurting yourself until you bleed is self-harm. That is the definition of self-harm. Anything that you do to injure or harm yourself (whether you bleed or not) is considered self-harm. Find safe methods of "release" when you are stressed out: bite into a spicy pepper (it will hurt, but not cause harm), splash your face with cold water, rip up blank paper (or write out what's causing you stress and rip it up), scream into a pillow, listen to music, punch a punching bag, exercise, do something artistic (paint, draw, write, etc), play with a fidget toy, cuddle a pet, take a nap, participate in one of your favorite (non-harmful) hobbies, talk to a friend/therapist/family member, etc.
August 25th, 2020 3:58am
Yes it is. When you start scratching yourself it is the only way you know at that moment how to stop feeling the stress. The pain you start to feel on your skin is now the focus and for a moment the emotional pain you were feeling is gone. Don't be hard on yourself. It is all you knew at that time to cope with the stress. Before a stressful situation arises again try to think of a different coping mechanism that may help you when you are feeling stressed. Something that will not create a different pain - something that will help you in a more positive way - you can do this.
August 26th, 2020 2:27pm
Yes. Harming yourself in any way to deal with emotions is considered self harm. I had a history of self harm a few years ago. When I got help for it (therapist), I would say, "I am better. I haven't cut myself in weeks." I was lying. I still harmed myself through other, less obvious methods. So while you might think that scratching until you bleed isn't that bad or not as serious as other ways of harming yourself, I disagree. It is still a maladaptive coping mechanism that needs to be addressed. I hope that helps. Sending support :)