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Why do I always feel better after I self-harm?

22 Answers
Last Updated: 07/16/2018 at 11:28am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Jill Kapil, PsyD


I have over 9 years of clinical experience, specialize in anxiety, and am passionate about my work. My approach is collaborative, empathic, supportive, and goal-oriented.

Top Rated Answers
February 26th, 2015 7:32pm
You feel better after self-harm because it has become a way of coping for you. It is a temporary release from many negative emotions which for some reason seem to help many in the short term. It turns inner pain outside therefore giving it a focus which can be seen by the eye and making it easier to deal with. Physical pain is often easier to overcome than emotional pain and for this reason self-harm suddenly becomes less of a ghastly act and becomes something a little more understandable. Many find the physical pain comforting as it is temporarily distracting from any other forms of pain while others feel no pain whatsoever when they harm themselves but feel in control of what they are doing when they cannot control the actual feelings they are experiencing.
February 26th, 2015 5:01pm
Truthfully, you feel better after you self-harm because you have all this stress and thoughts running through your head and body that when you cut it opens a spot to release that pressure
June 7th, 2016 6:08pm
Self-harm makes you feel better because there is a release of endorphins and adrenaline into your body. This is a natural process that happens, designed to help us survive dangerous situations when we are injured.
April 18th, 2015 1:14pm
Self harming releases a rush of endorphin's to your brain to help stop the pain and relieve it. Which is why self harming is addictive because your body is craving the rush of chemicals.
June 30th, 2015 4:23pm
Self harm is usually a way of creating a physical/tangible pain for an emotional pain we are feeling. It helps to be able to say "my arm hurts b/c i cut it" rather than "I am feeling angry." We often put our more abstract pains and feelings into something concrete and physical as a way to cope and assign a specific hurt to something we feel out of control with(our emotions). Self harm is an attempt to control and isolate our pain into something more understandable and available to our brain. It is a short term cover up though and not the answer to emotional distress.
November 20th, 2017 8:16pm
The suddon rush of physical pain blocks the emotional pain, because your brain is more worried about getting physically hurt than emotional issues.
February 1st, 2016 10:40pm
I also self-harm, so what I'm about to say comes from personal experience. You feel pain inside, and self-harming makes you feel pain on the outside, and it blots out the emotional pain. However, this really isn't good to do. I'd suggest you find something you enjoy doing (I always turn to reading or drawing) and do it when you feel upset. It really helps. Please take care of yourself.
October 27th, 2015 7:04am
Cutting releases endorphins, a chemical that dulls the pain sensors in your brain. Cutting becomes similar to a drug addiction in the sense that the feeling that accompanies it is almost a drug
July 16th, 2018 11:28am
A lot of self harmers feel better after they self harm, people self harm as to get relief and to numb the pain, so after you feel better cuz you've numbed the pain.
April 26th, 2015 7:13pm
Probably because self harm makes you focus on different physical pain and therefore not the painful emotional hurt, or because of the belief that you deserve to be hurt, which is not true...
June 17th, 2015 7:05am
Because you have switch your pain you felt inside, outside of you by doing self harming to yourself. You wont feel the usual pain you feel on an everyday basis by doing so
September 7th, 2015 9:11pm
Because you believe that you have something wrong. Therefore, by hurting yourself, you think you are doing harm to the person who is hurting you. Of course that this isn't true and that self harming isn't the appropriate response! You are an amazing person, remember that ;)
July 2nd, 2018 5:22pm
I think because after you punished yourself you feel you paid the price for something you did wrong and so you don't have to feel guilty about it any more.
June 23rd, 2015 8:00am
Self harm can be a way of avoiding the emotional pain that's inside us and it can also be easier to connect and except the physical pain as a release ! Finding ways to reduce the risk of self harm is a step towards a safer place 😊
July 6th, 2015 12:59am
People tend to feel better because most of the mental and emotional pain is now gone, since they took it out on their bodies. Most emotional pain is much stronger than physical, giving them a more satisfied result.
September 14th, 2015 6:14am
Well, this is because it is a very often used outlet for pain, and it actually works, but it is not very good to continuously do it.
October 28th, 2015 7:37am
It's a form of distraction, it makes you think of the physical pain you're experiencing and not your mental or emotional pain
January 11th, 2016 10:37am
Because it's a physical release of the pain that's inside. It overrides your mental pain with physical pain. It also releases "feel good" chemicals like Endorphins..
May 17th, 2016 7:38pm
Self harm can make you feel like you are in control, however it is a very dangerous feeling. I find it to be helpful to find a task to do rather than self harm. Origami, doodling, knitting, and coloring are all hands based movements that have helped me refrain from self harm.
May 23rd, 2016 2:25pm
you believe that by seeing your own blood you are releasing tension, and can physically feel the pain which you are feeling inside. Either that, or you think that you need punishment from something which you feel have done wrong, when this is often out of proportion. Self-harming is never the answer.
October 11th, 2016 8:50pm
Science side says endorphines, human side says because you've let out the feelings you had trapped inside you
June 12th, 2017 12:43am
Self-harm can feel like a way of coping with difficult emotion, it can also give an instant release from emotional distress by giving something else to focus on. Whatever your reason for self-harming, you don`t have to go through it alone and you deserve to love yourself and find a healthier way of coping! Please check out the self-harm self-help guide, you may find some useful information in there!