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Why is self-harm so addictive?

147 Answers
Last Updated: 07/26/2019 at 5:31am
★ This question about Self-Harm was starred by a moderator on 5/12/2016.
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Dorothy Paige, MS Psychology

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I believe that any issue that prevents one from living life to the fullest or prevents self love is defeating. I am committed to providing support to anyone who seeks help.

Top Rated Answers
November 17th, 2014 1:51pm
Self harm is when we try to hurt ourself or punish ourself. Its sometimes so frustrating that to end the trouble we tend to just harm ourself. Addiction is because the first thing that comes in our mind at that point of time is to just end the pain.
April 10th, 2015 8:53am
Because it makes a person feel something else. It can sometimes feel better to feel physical pain, rather than emotional pain.
April 17th, 2015 5:55pm
Self-harm is addictive because it gives you this false sense of relief that lasts quite awhile, you have control over the situation and it's covering up that damaging emotional pain you feel - only to be covered up by physical pain that will go away.
October 26th, 2015 9:38pm
It gives you a relief to all the pain you are experiencing emotionally and since it gives you relief it gets more and more addicting. You never want to start because it's hard to stop.
December 12th, 2015 11:48am
Self harm is addictive because for some people it is the only way they know how to cope with heavy emotions. Though it turns into a vicious cycle, because it never truly fixes the underlying problem. Therefore you feel like you have to self harm over and over again to get that same relief.
January 6th, 2016 3:03am
Because the ability to control is so few and far between when someone is in such a dark place that having that sort of power is just as much of a relief as the rush of endorphin's.
January 6th, 2016 3:47am
Self harm for some is a coping mechanism against overwhelming feelings and emotions especially negative ones. A sudden rush of hormones - the bodies natural reaction to injury makes us feel a temporary sense of relief - it made us feel better even temporarily and if it works we do it again and almost like waiting for that hormonal ' hit'. For some it is also less about harming ourselves but a way of nurturing ourselves. We can visible see and to a degree control the healing process.
January 6th, 2016 5:00am
Self-harm for me was so addictive because it was the only thing that could be controlled. There are also studies that show that there are chemicals released in the brain during self-harm. While self-harm is a real, addiction, there are several resources for help and recovery.
January 10th, 2016 9:28pm
Self harm often becomes addictive because it is an instant escape or release from our struggles . It also releases certain "feel good" chemicals in our body which makes us feel happy , calm and relaxed again . Self harm can also give us the feeling of regaining control over ourselves and our lives . All these things add together and make it addictive
January 27th, 2016 10:24pm
Because you always want something to lean on when your sad. Once you take that blade to your skin or that lighter to you skin it makes you feel better.
July 18th, 2017 8:58pm
Self-harm starts out as a coping mechanism. Later on one becomes so used to it that it becomes a form of addiction. The brain releases endorphins (feel good hormones) when someone self harms, thus linking it to a positive behaviour.
July 26th, 2019 5:31am
I found that usually what leads to my self harm is my intense mood disorder Borderline personality disorder. This is one of my challenges and I have a hard time saying I am hurt. I may not understand peoples experiences but yes, the endorphins play a huge part in cutting myself in any situations in dealing with my intense emotions. I have found that I need DBT for my diagnosis of Borderline personality disorder. Because I lack in my understanding on why I react this way. I did hurt myself last night due to a distressing situation because of my shame and guilt. So I am asking for help through a specialist clinic for DBT. I will have some challenges to over come but I can do this because once the addiction with hurting myself in this form starts it's difficult to stop so I am getting help last time this happened was between 14-18 years and I had a hard time coping with the emotional problems in my life also with bullying and a history of complicated eating disorders. The only thing I can do is be true to my own personal experience and seek help through my GP, therapist and realistically understand what leads to my behavior. So do struggle and I am hurt. But I am happy I will get better.
September 22nd, 2014 6:31pm
Self-harm is so addictive because it can take the pain away sometimes, and we are all addicted to somthing that takes the pain away.
September 27th, 2014 2:58pm
Self harm is addictive because when you feel so alone and that you are hurting so much, you want to take the pain away. So, then every time you feel that way you do it again.
October 5th, 2014 5:13pm
Because once one has harmed him/herself, their pain temporarily fades as if the cutting released the feeling underneath. And once the pain comes back, they feel as if this is the only way to deal with it.
October 7th, 2014 5:06pm
People think of it as a way to cope with there problems and sometimes they do it for so long they can get into a pattern and start doing it more often and it becomes addictive just like smoking i used to self harm and to me it was when i felt numb and needed to feel something and when i did it i wanted to do it again,people who self harm need to seek help.
October 9th, 2014 10:25am
its addictive for many reasons one of them is because you want to feel something and because you enjoy the way it feel or looks
October 24th, 2014 2:12am
People self harm for various reasons, for example distraction or release of emotion. Its not the self harm that's addicting, it's what ever the reason you are doing it for. That's why we encourage you to find something to replace harm with, that gives you the same feeling, but something that is positive or contributes to your life!
October 24th, 2014 7:11pm
It is a way to soft the pain you feel. When you do it you think about other things, and this can be a numbing feeling, but might end up becoming a habit even when you're no longer sad.
October 24th, 2014 10:56pm
It seems to give people relief from emotional pain, the more you do it, the more your brain will tell you that you need it. Self-harm releases a chemical known as Endorphins and this is our 'feel good' hormone, our body releases it after things such as exercise, that is why after a workout you feel really good. Our body releases it also when we harm ourselves like cutting, the release of the chemical during that procedure can make it addictive too.
October 26th, 2014 2:14pm
Some people find it helpful for them. It's what they've done to relieve emotions, etc. Some realize that they need to change, but the question is where to start. It's always best to try and talk to someone and go from there.
November 2nd, 2014 3:50pm
Because we think it's good for us, we think that doing it we feel less sad or less stressed when it just make us feel worst and worst.
November 6th, 2014 1:34am
because it releases endorphins which is released when you self harm and that just makes it so addictive
November 19th, 2014 11:03pm
It reduces 'happy hormones' and your body becomes addicted to them and there are many other ways to get that rush.
May 30th, 2015 3:57am
When a person self harms their brain releases endorphins to help with the pain, and the body can get addicted to the chemicals that brain is producing.
August 24th, 2015 1:48pm
The physical act of harming yourself releases chemicals in the body called endorphines. Endorphines block pain and can even provide a sense of euphoria in larger numbers. This is one of the biological theories on why self-harm is so addictive. There's also the sense of relief and release many people feel when they hurt themselves, and that can be addictive in and of itself.
November 17th, 2015 5:14am
Probably that is good for escape of the problems and can be stand up, but that is the wrong way, because you end feeling bad by the cuts and the scars
December 10th, 2015 12:13am
Self-harm is addicting because it's how you feel sometimes.. If you're feelings are super hard.. then you cut yourself... Like I used to Self-Harm (Cut.. Punch Walls.. etc) All the pain I had that was stuck inside of my body.. I took a knife and just started cutting. I started thinking about how hard is was for other people... especially my boyfriend. I remember my boyfriend seeing my cuts. He told me to show him the things I used to cut my arms with. I showed him. He started cutting his arms, like out of no where. And I cried and asked why he was doing this. And he said ¨Because this is what you're doing to me¨. I stopped cutting after that... because it just hurt to see him cut his arms.. because of me!
December 11th, 2015 3:42am
there is an endorphin released - its the same one that is released during vigorous exercise - it also helps people feel something and some are addicted to the feeling
December 11th, 2015 12:24pm
because its a coping mechanism, makes you feel fine for a short while but then that feeling goes so you think you should do it again