Skip to main content Skip to bottom nav

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.
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Dorothy Paige, MS Psychology

Licensed Professional Counselor

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
December 12th, 2015 12:39am
Self harm is addictive because it is a coping mechanism. A very short term one. Yet it does distract the mind from focusing mental pain to physical. Self harm is a distraction. And once you get that in your head, it's easier to try come up with different distractions. I find taking it one step at a time is best. If you feel the urge to hurt yourself, I find punching something soft helpful (pillow) or squeezing something really tight (your hands, bouncy ball) or even slamming doors can feel like a release. Scream if you can as it helps. Or run around outside.
December 12th, 2015 10:45pm
self harm is addictive because of the fact that people like the feeling. I know I did (I'm a lot better now)
December 13th, 2015 12:46am
I don't know the real scientific explanation but I do know the feeling of being addicted and from personal experience I can tell you that it became addictive to me because each time I wanted it to help and each time I wanted it to make things better and each time it failed to do so, and I became convinced that the next time, the next time it would work. Or if I went harder or if I did more or longer. I kept doing it in search of something that worked, I kept doing it and soon I was addicted and just a warning, getting over an addiction is much harder than being addicted.
December 13th, 2015 12:54pm
For me, self-harm was addictive because of that feeling of elation and the feeling that all my worries had suddenly been washed away as soon as I dragged the blade across my wrist. However, the feeling vanishes very quickly, and is replaced with anger and worry. Then, you decide you want to feel good again, so...
December 13th, 2015 7:38pm
I guess self harm can be addictive because we harm ourselves to vent or let out anger and when we harm our self we think we feel good and we find something to always escape to. It becomes an addiction just like drugs
December 16th, 2015 12:19am
It's a way to relieve stress, allowing people to quickly become addicted. If you get used to that being your pain reliever, it's like any other addiction. Like biting your nails or messing with your hair, you can do it without really thinking why, and it's hard to stop. Your mind gets used to the idea, making it hard to stop.
December 16th, 2015 1:46am
Self-harm is addictive because it's the only way you think you can express yourself. the pain is welcomed And you feel like you deserve the pain that you are afflicting yourself
December 16th, 2015 5:51am
There are a couple theories. One of the most popular is that self harm causes your brain to release dopamine, causing a positive sensation and encouraging you to repeat the behavior. Another theory is that you become accustomed to the behavior and revert back to it whenever you are triggered. It may very well be caused by a combination of those two ideas.
December 16th, 2015 12:55pm
Self harm is addictive because it is pleasurable. It is a dangerous pleasure that only leads down a path of self loathing eventually.
December 16th, 2015 3:43pm
Because sometimes you get so used to doing it you feel the need to do it when you are feeling low or sad
December 16th, 2015 10:46pm
Self-harm is addictive because it feels like you're releasing the pain. Every time you self-harm you feel better when in reality you're only hurting yourself more.
December 17th, 2015 12:39am
Self harm in my experiences is addictive because its just like any drug. It mutes what your feeling and make you feel ok and you being to like that so you keep doing it. And when its not enough ou cut more deeper and more and more often until it saticfys you .
December 17th, 2015 4:45pm
Because initially it makes you feel in control, however after a while it becomes impulsive, once you start loosing control it makes you feel like you need it.
December 18th, 2015 8:17am
Self-harm is addicting because it makes you in control with what you are doing and what you are feeling.
December 18th, 2015 8:24pm
You feel like you deserve the pain. Like everything you did worsened the world, you deserve it. But you don't
December 19th, 2015 6:05pm
Self-harm is addictive sometimes because when someone feels lonely or experience depression then he/she wants to harm him/herself.
December 19th, 2015 7:01pm
Because of the release of endorphins in your body to help limit the resulting pain, self harm can become an addictive cycle. There are plenty of other methods you can research to help you deal with self-harm.
December 19th, 2015 11:18pm
I think that self harm is addictive because it is like revenge. When you're angry you hurt the purpose of your anger. for example when someone insults you you want to hurt them back, so when you make yourself angry you want to hurt yourself in return
December 20th, 2015 3:54am
in my experience, self harm is addictive because we get used to the response from on our body to the brain - because it has been used as a way to cope, the brain is wired to the maladaptive coping style that one may engage in such as for relief. it is important to get help for set harm and to look after all wounds.
December 20th, 2015 10:54am
Self harm makes you forget your emotional pain and misery for a while. When you hurt yourself, for a few moments you don't feel any sadness or anxiety anymore, all you feel is this physical pain. You can easily get addicted to self-harm because it makes you forget your sadness and you want to feel nothing inside again.
December 20th, 2015 5:08pm
Why do we cut? To cut and feel pain with every stroke of the blade is to be validated in your existence. Life to us is often a series of motions that we have to just go through with the expectation that something better will come out of it in the end. Always remember that in the struggle to live, you are not alone. Always remember that when you are hurting because of the world around you, try to hold on. Hold on, for pain ends. I tell you there is always a way to live, and one way is to be around people who are like you but have found their way out. So rise up and look around. Life is there happening and waiting for you to embrace, with lots of tons of love, hugs and compassion. If nothing works.... Hang in there, my friend. Call that suicide prevention hotline. Don't hesitate - that's what they're there and you're going to be okay. Life can be really difficult at times. We all have our crosses to bear, muddle through as best you can. You don't have to be perfect. You just have to know that it isn't always going to hurt like this and it will get better. You just be you. :)
December 21st, 2015 7:12pm
self-harm is addictive because it is the relief you get from doing it that makes it addictive....
December 23rd, 2015 2:19am
When self-harm is used to cope with difficult emotions it can become very addictive because we never learn to strengthen our tolerance to cope with the feeling. Instead we have an alternative behavior that we have to continue to escalate to get the same relief we initially felt.
December 23rd, 2015 2:22am
Self harm is so addictive because it is a way to make the pain physical and not emotional. It allows you to feel something different from the pan you felt before. Sometimes it even feels like the only escape, but it isn't. It only feels that way.
December 23rd, 2015 7:51pm
Speaking from personal experience, I feel as though self-harm is especially addictive because we become so accustomed to feeling something other than the emotional or psychological pain we have been experiencing. I faced depression for 7 years and I used and still use self-harm because I want to experience anything but the emotional trauma.
December 24th, 2015 9:08am
It takes away the pain for awhile. You start to think that you deserve it but you dont. STAY STRONG
December 26th, 2015 12:39am
Because for many people self-harm take away the pain and makes you focus on another pain for a couple of seconds. And that's what everybody want... To get rid of the pain you are feeling inside..
December 26th, 2015 2:58am
When someone self harms, endorphin's are released creating a sort of high effect. These endorphin's are rewarding to the brain and it make's you feel good. The brain gets addicted to this high feeling, which often makes it hard for someone to stop self harming.
December 26th, 2015 6:05am
People turn to self-harm for distractions. Some people want to feel pain, they're emotionally numb and they find that this is an alternative. However, some people find that it distracts them from the emotional pain inside of them or their depression.
December 26th, 2015 6:20pm
I was always physically beaten as a child, physical pain is the only thing i learned how to process. You get hurt, it heals and you move on... its easier than dealing with emotions.